A group of almost 300 teachers, psychologists, authors and childcare experts have written an open letter today claiming that the loss of unstructured play outdoors is threatening children’s health and well-being.
The signatories, who include children’s author Philip Pullman, 60 psychologists and psychotherapists and children’s charities, link the phenomenon of parents keeping their children indoors to protect them from danger to the rise in mental health and behavioural problems in recent years.
Source:- Daily Mail Monday, 10 September 2007, page 11
Men who buy sex could face prosecution
Ministers are considering proposals to prosecute men for buying sex to curb demand for prostitution.
Currently kerbcrawling is illegal but buying sex is not, but campaigners argue that only by criminalising clients can the growth in the trafficking of women into brothels be curbed.
Officially, the Home Office has denied the plans.
Source:- The Guardian, Monday 10 September 2007, page 1
Brown plans new migrant controls to get unskilled Britons back to work
Prime minister Gordon Brown will pledge to create 500,000 extra jobs for British workers by increased support to get the unemployed into work and new language tests which would curb the entry of skilled migrants.
In a speech to the Trades Union Congress annual conference, he will announce that lone parent benefit will be extended to the first six weeks of employment, up from the current 15 days, and outline plans to extend back-to-work credits to the returning unemployed.
Employers will also be offered training allowances if they take on lone parents, people on incapacity benefit or the long-term unemployed.
Source:- The Guardian, Monday 10 September 2007, page 6
Asbos don’t curb bad behaviour, warns senior police officer
A senior police officer will today raise doubts about the effectiveness of antisocial behaviour orders, highlighting the lack of support given to people with Asbos to change their behaviour.
In a book out today, published by the Howard League for Penal Reform, detective chief superintendent Neil Wain, head of the Stockport division of Greater Manchester Police, said Asbos appeared to have no effect on behaviour and there was insufficient use of individual support orders, because of their cost.
Source:- The Guardian, Monday 10 September 2007, page 10
Council takes overweight child into care
A disabled boy was taken into care earlier this year by Tower Hamlets Council, east London, in part because social workers had become anxious about his weight.
The case follows that of an eight-year-old boy who was nearly taken into care by North Tyneside Council earlier this year after reaching 14 stone, more than three times the average weight for a boy of his age.
Source:- The Guardian, Monday 10 September 2007, page 14
Taxpayers would help fund disabled workers’ move to private sector
Unions have rejected Remploy plans to subsidise the placement of staff in factories earmarked for closure in lower-paid jobs with mainstream employers.
Under the plans, the government-funded company would top-up the wages of disabled staff placed with employers such as Tesco or Asda to their current salaries, and maintain their index-linked pensions, holiday and sick pay rates, at a cost of £50m over five years.
However, unions reiterated their opposition to the factory closures and called on public bodies to reserve contracts for goods and services for Remploy factories.
Source:- The Guardian, Monday 10 September 2007, page 27
Home Secretary unveils crackdown on gang culture
The Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, has announced a crackdown on gang-related gun crime in parts of London, Birmingham, Greater Manchester and Liverpool.
Source:- The Independent, Monday 10 September 2007, page 13
A hospital investigation is under way into claims that a stillborn baby was left in a plastic bag next to his parents.
Source:- The Daily Telegraph, Monday 10 September 2007, page 9
Expectant mothers will be given £120 handouts in the hope they spend it on fruit and vegetables to nourish their unborn children.
Source:- The Daily Telegraph, Monday 10 September 2007, page 12
Abused women may lose vote after blunder at Westminster
A drafting error at Westminster is threatening to disenfranchise Scottish women who are suffering domestic abuse, say Scottish Women’s Aid.
When the Electoral Administration Act 2006 was drawn up its provisions on anonymous electoral registration to protect abused women insisted on legal documentation that is only used in England and Wales.
The act specifies that the way an individual in Scotland can register anonymously to avoid being traced by an abusing partner is to obtain a non-harassment order, but the Scottish legal system usually makes use of exclusion orders, which were not included in the wording of the legislation.
Source: The Herald, Monday 10 September
Nearly a third of children attending school in Wales will be bullied this term according to new figures from a children’s charity.
The NSPCC Cymru statistics show that 5,230 children rang ChildLine Cymru/Wales about bullying between April 2006 and March 2007 and received counselling.
Source:- Western Mail, Monday, 10 September 2007
Sion expert witness in child assault probe
A banned paediatrician whose evidence helped to convict Sion Jenkins is being questioned by police about an alleged child assault.
Professor David Southall gave evidence at the former deputy headmaster’s trial when Jenkins was found guilty of murdering 13-year-old foster daughter Billie-Jo in 1998.
Jenkins was acquitted of the crime in 2005.
Professor Southall is being investigated over an alleged incident relating to staff practices at Cardiff Heath hospital in the early ‘90s.
Source:- Wales on Sunday, 9 September 2007
A couple who received sentences for cruelty to their children this week have avoided jail.
The police visited the home of Darren and Tracey Lucas, of Tredegar, Gwent, and found scenes of squalor such as stained mattresses and saucepans full of food.
Source:- Wales on Sunday, 9 September 2007