Serious Violent Crime
Following the deaths of teenagers Jodie Chesney (17) & Yousef Ghaleb Makki (17) from violent knife crime last weekend, Home Secretary Sajid Javid MP addressed the House of Commons on Tuesday. He highlighted that serious violence is on the rise describing it as “a cycle of senseless violence that is robbing people across the UK of their lives”. Of the 726 people murdered last year in the UK, 285 of these deaths occurred by the use of a knife or bladed weapon, the highest ever recorded level. In his speech, Javid described the complexity of tackling serious crime and the need for “coordinated action on multiple fronts”. Javid described this action as:
- A strong law enforcement response (as detailed in our previous bulletin the new Offensive Weapons Bill includes new offences for knife crime);
- Early intervention the through the Early Intervention Youth Fund (which funds local projects) and knife crime prevention orders aimed at preventing young people carrying knives;
- Improved Police resourcing – next year HM Government plans to increase Police funding by 976M;
- Gaining a better understanding of drugs misuse and the relation this has to violent crime (an Independent Drugs Misuse Review has been launched);
- The need for all parts of the public sector to prioritise tackling serious violence. There will be a new consultation on introducing a new statutory duty to combat violent crime and protect young people.
Child gang activity – a national safeguarding priority
The children’s commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, has called for child gang activity to be made a national safeguarding priority. Her report based on the study Keeping Kids Safe: Improving safeguarding responses to gang violence and criminal exploitation estimates that 27,000 children in England are in gangs of which only a quarter are known to children’s services or youth offending team. The report also estimates that 34,000 children, who are gang members or who know a gang member, have been victims of violent crime in the past year.
Longfield’s report calls for:
- Joint inspections by Ofsted, the Care Quality Commission, the Police and probation inspectorates to be rolled out across England;
- Greater emphasis on early years within the Serious Violence Strategy, with the Department for Education setting a clear target and plan for reducing the number of children beginning school with very low levels of development, along with a national plan for improving special educational needs identification in the early years;
- More support from the NHS, to include better mental health support for children at risk of gang membership and exclusion; An urgent commitment to what will replace the soon-to-expire Troubled Families programme, alongside a long-term family-based approach to supporting children at risk of gang involvement;
- Ensuring councils have enough resources to provide the youth and early help services required to meet the needs of children at risk.
The report also identifies a number of “early warning signs” that gang violence among children is rising which include:
- Referrals to children’s services where gangs were identified as an issue rose by 26% between 2015/16 and 2016/17;
- Permanent exclusions rose by 67% between 2012/13 and 2016/17;
- Hospital admissions for children who have been assaulted with a sharp object rose 20% between 2015/16 and 2016/17;
- The number of children cautioned/convicted for possession of weapons offences rose 12 per cent between 2016 and 2017.
The study also found that children in gangs were 95% more likely to have social and emotional health issues, were more than twice as likely to be self-harming, were 41% more likely to have a parent or carer misusing substances and were 8 times more likely to be misusing substances themselves.
Bradford Sexual Offences Convictions
Nine men, found guilty of a range of sexual offences against two young and vulnerable victims, have been sentenced at Bradford Crown Court to a total of more than 132 years.
The abuse began in 2008 when both girls (aged only 14) been placed in a children’s home run by Bradford Metropolitan District Council. One victim was exploited by Basharat Khaliq over a three-year period with the other victim groomed and exploited by numerous men; including the other eight convicted defendants. The abuse of these two vulnerable victims continued after they left the care system to live independently.
The nine defendants were charged and convicted as follows:
- Basharat Khaliq (38) of Allerton, Bradford: one charge of assault by penetration and five charges of rape. Guilty on all charges – sentence 20 years
- Saeed Akhtar, (55) of Girlington, Bradford: two charges of causing or inciting child prostitution and one charge of rape. Guilty on all charges- sentence 20 years
- Naveed Akhtar (43), of Manningham, Bradford: Guilty of two charges of rape and not guilty of one charge of rape- sentence 17 years
- Parvaze Ahmed, (36) of Heaton, Bradford: guilty of three charges of rape- sentence 17 years
- Izar Hussain, (32), of Girlington, Bradford: guilty of one charge of rape, not guilty to two charges of rape, and guilty of one charge of attempted rape- sentence 16 years
- Kieran Harris, (28), of Ravensthorpe, Dewsbury: guilty of two charges of rape- sentence 17 years
- Fahim Iqbal, (28), of no fixed abode: guilty of one charge of aiding and abetting rape- sentence 7 years
- Mohammed Usman, (31), of Undercliffe, Bradford: guilty of two charges of rape- sentence 17 years
- Zeeshan Ali, (32), Girlington, Bradford, guilty of one charge of sexual assault- sentence 18 months
Paula Craven from the Crown Prosecution Service said: “These two girls were deliberately targeted because of their vulnerability. Sadly, the exploitation followed a pattern which is all-too familiar in cases of this kind. These victims suffered an appalling catalogue of degrading emotional and sexual abuse which has deprived them of their childhood.”
Additional bans for former Eton Community Head Teacher
Following a Teaching Regulation Agency professional misconduct hearing, Sophie Rahman (former Head Teacher of Eton Community School in Ilford) can no longer hold a management position in a private school or be a state school governor. Rahman was previously banned from teaching for life after she allowed London Bridge attacker Khurum Butt to teach after school classes.
The panel found that Rahman knew or should have known that Butt, who had appeared on the documentary “The Jihadist Next Door” (Channel 4), was connected to members and former members of extremist jihadist organisation Al-Muhajiroun. Despite not having qualifications or experience and a caution for violence, Butt taught Qur’an at the school formerly known as Ad-Deen Primary School. The panel also found Rahman misled or attempted to mislead the Police and Local Authority about the number of children who attended Butt’s classes.
Butt was one of three men involved in the terrorist attack in London Bridge in June 2017, when eight people were killed and forty-eight injured. All three attackers were shot dead by police officers.
Eton Community School, an independent Muslim primary school, was closed in August 2017.
Domestic Abuse Victims – school priority?
A report produced by the charities Hestia and Pro Bono Economics is calling for an amendment to the draft Domestic Abuse Bill to make it easier for victims of domestic violence to transfer into another school if they have to move address. The report, which states that 500,000 children in the UK have been exposed to domestic violence, highlights that families escaping this abuse can struggle to get their children into another school. The report suggests that, similar to children in care or adopted from care, priority school places should be available to such children.
KCSIE 2018 Translated!
Educational not-for-profit organisation LGfL have translated KCSIE 2018 into ten languages including Polish, Punjabi, Urdu, Bengali, Gujarati, Arabic, Mandarin, Cantonese, Portuguese and Spanish. Click here to access this fantastic resource.
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