Safeguarding e-Bulletin – 5th Dec 2019

Welcome to our Safeguarding e-Bulletin, keeping you up-to-date with all safeguarding news, information and updates. Between publications you can also get in the moment updates on safeguarding news by following us on Twitter @SSSlearning and my commentary on @Sam_SSSLearning

How to talk to children about terrorism

As media coverage of the most recent London Bridge terrorist  attack once again demonstrates, the ongoing reporting following such incidents pervades news and social media coverage. New NSPCC tips and  advice is now available if you are concerned about how a child is feeling following such events. In addition, the charity has also released a supporting video – how to talk to children about terrorism. You may also wish to make parents / guardians aware of this resource.

Domestic Violence behind rise in child protection figures

On average, 88 children are taken into care each day in England where there has been a 53% rise in child protection cases over the last ten years. A  survey conducted by the  Local Government Association(LGA) reveals that domestic violence, family conflict and drink and drug abuse are the biggest drivers of the rise in child-protection cases. In response to the LGA survey, more than 80% of the councillors in charge of children’s services identified domestic violence and substance misuse as the reason for the increase in intervention to protect children in their local authorities, 18,000 more children than a decade ago.

The Department for Education has also published  figures which show domestic violence to be the most common factor for “children in need”, higher than issues such as abuse, gangs, trafficking or anti-social behaviour.

Extended sentence for vile predator

Michael Williams, one of Britain’s most notorious paedophiles, has been jailed for another 18 years. Williams groomed children on his post round and online, with pictures of himself and Manchester United stars, including Sir Alex Ferguson, Peter Schmeichel and Ryan Giggs. He used the pictures to impress the children he later went on to abuse.

In 2010 when  Williams was jailed for eight and a half years for grooming up to 1,000 children, some of whom he also abused. He targeted children on his postal route, at local football clubs, tricked his victims into performing sex acts on webcams and convinced some to visit his home. Online, he pretended to be teenage to meet children aged 11 to 16.

Williams, 38, has once again been convicted after further offences committed both before and after his previous jail term came to light. Williams admitted to seven indecent assaults on two girls aged 13 that occurred before the offences he was earlier imprisoned for. He was also found guilty of three charges of making indecent images of a child and one charge of possession of an indecent photograph of a child, after his release.

Described by  Judge Simon Carr as ‘a predatory paedophile with an entrenched sexual interest in children that will last the rest of his life’, Williams has been jailed for an extended 12 years in custody and further six years on licence. 

EU report focuses on UK “county lines”

A new EU report highlights the “extensive exploitation” of vulnerable young people, by county lines drug trafficking gangs operating across the UK. The  EU Drug Markets Report 2019 is the third comprehensive overview of illicit drug markets in the European Union by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction ( EMCDDA) and  Europol

The report highlights how the “county lines” model of drug supply, which involves drug supply from a central base to rural supply areas using dedicated mobile phone lines to take orders, has become widespread in the United Kingdom. The report details how this exploitative business model is allowing criminal groups to expand to new areas at low cost and minimal risk through the recruitment and exploitation of vulnerable children, for example those in the care of social services or excluded from school.

The 2017 National Crime Agency threat  assessment on county lines showed that nearly every police force in England and Wales has been affected to some degree. The new EU report also states that “In the United Kingdom some provincial police forces have highlighted concerns about increasing firearms use related to the phenomenon of county lines”. The report also reveals that in the UK heroin is one of the main drugs now supplied through “county lines” and that the crack trade through this model is associated with increasing levels of violence.

This is a lengthy report which reviews the markets for heroin, cocaine, cannabis, amphetamine, methamphetamine, MDMA and new psychoactive substances, providing action points to inform policy development at EU and national level. 

Serial killer charged with Estelle Mouzin murder

Michel Fourniret, known in the media as the “Ogre of the Ardennes”, is one of France’s most notorious serial killers. He has now been charged with the abduction and murder of Estelle Mouzin, the nine-year-old girl who vanished without trace in 2003. Estelle disappeared in 2003 whilst walking home from her school. Her body was never found. 

Detectives first suspected 76-year-old  Fourniret was behind Estelle’s abduction and murder in 2006 after a photo of her was found on his computer. A white van, resembling the one Fourniret drove, had also been spotted in the area when Estelle disappeared.

Fourniret, previously jailed for life in 2008 for the rape and murder of seven girls and young women, has now been charged over Estelle’s disappearance from a village east of Paris after his wife came forward to contradict his alibi.

Fourniret always maintained he had nothing to do with Estelle’s disappearance, claiming he was at home in Sart-Custinne, southern Belgium, at the time. This alibi held until last week when his former wife, Monique Olivier, told investigators that the phone call Fourniret said he made from his home on the day the child disappeared was in fact made by her at his request.  Monique Olivier is serving a 20-year sentence for helping Fourniret kidnap the girls and watching through a one-way mirror whilst he raped and killed them.

Fourniret is already sentenced to life with no possibility of parole however, an additional successful conviction for the abduction and murder of Estelle Mouzin will offer closure to a case which has gripped the nation for years.

Serious safeguarding failures at multi-site college set to be exposed

According to an  article published in FE Week last week, the independent learning provider  City College Nottingham is preparing to receive the publication of a grade-four Ofsted report. 

The Ofsted inspection was conducted after a whistle-blower brought concerns to the Education and Skills Funding Agency ( ESFA).

It is reported that inspectors found no restrictions on the internet for material such as pornography and radicalisation and a complete lack of security over who was coming and going to the provider’s multi-site campus.

In addition to its own students, City College Nottingham teaches young people and adults on courses in construction, beauty, care, IT and business courses under a £1 million subcontracting agreement with Nottingham College. Ofsted has alerted Nottingham College to its findings which has terminated the contract with City College Nottingham.

According to a spokesperson for Nottingham College, quick and decisive action has been taken after being made aware of the safeguarding situation, which includes providing reception and security staff at the Carlton Road campus whose role is to “ensure secure access and strictly enforcing the use of lanyards for staff and students to ensure only people with a legitimate reason to be in the building are in the building”. The college has also “suspended IT access to control safeguarding risk online until such time as adequate software monitoring can be introduced”.

The college was graded “ Inadequate” by Ofsted in January 2018, which included a judgement that “Teachers do not do enough to develop learners’ understanding of British values and their relationship to radicalisation and extremism”. The report included a recommendation for:

support staff to improve their own understanding of British values, and to improve the ways in which they make links between these values and the dangers of radicalisation and extremism, for example, by:

  • training staff so that they understand British values more fully 
  • sharing the good practice that already exists in parts of the organisation 
  • providing staff with details of news items that might provide useful discussion topics, along with guidance notes and helpful questions to ask. “

Despite a monitoring  report, published in January 2019, which judged that the college was making “reasonable progress” in this safeguarding area, it appears the latest report will contradict this judgement.

Published updates

State-funded schools inspections and outcomes as at 31 August 2019 – Provisional data for the period April to August 2019 and revised data for the period September 2018 to March 2019.

School inspection update: academic year 2019 to 2020 – This is the first edition since the rollout of the EIF. It focuses on the minor changes to section 5 and section 8 handbooks following the first two months under EIF. A summary of the changes is included and the edition also includes information on the release of key stage 4 checking data.

Social care questionnaires 2019: what children and young people told Ofsted – Published data of survey responses which captures children’s views about social care settings, including children’s homes, boarding schools and living with foster carers and adopters.

Research into further education subcontracting launched – Ofsted is launching a new research project to look at the subcontracting landscape within further education.

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