Youth work and social care news from around the world

Links from around the world of youth work and social care:

Number of admissions to hospital of girls under 18 after self-harming has nearly doubled: The Guardian reports that figures provided in response to a written question in the House of Lords, answered by Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health Lord O’Shaughnessy, show that the number of admissions to hospital of girls under the age of 18 in England after self-harming has nearly doubled compared with 20 years ago. NHS Digital figures show that: there were 13,463 admissions of girls under the age of 18 in 2016/17 against 7,327 in 1997/98; the figure for admissions of boys who self-harmed rose from 2,236 in 1997/98 to 2,332 in 2016/17.

Adult survivors of childhood sexual abuseThe University of Suffolk and the charity Survivors in Transition have published research looking at the impact of delayed disclosure and access to services and support for those who experienced sexual abuse in their childhood. Findings from in-depth interviews with 28 adult survivors of child sexual abuse show that: the average time span from the start of abuse to disclosure was over 27.5 years; survivors reported that delayed disclosure resulted in complex issues related to the experience of abuse, which had a detrimental impact on their mental health; and poor experiences of disclosure had acted as barriers to future support services.

Perinatal mental health services are patchyThe Guardian reports that an unpublished report, commissioned by Health Education England, has found that in many areas of England specialist perinatal mental health services are patchy or non-existent.

Answering parents commonly asked online safety questionsChildnet has written a blog answering some of the questions parents and carers most frequently ask about online safety. Topic covered include: teenagers spending too much time online; under 13s joining social networking sites; and playing games that have an older age rating.

Viewing child abuse imagesThe Telegraph reports that the Solicitor General, Robert Buckland, has said that sex offenders who download or share images of child abuse should be dealt with by the court as harshly as those who abuse children themselves. The article also reports that the government is planning to bring child pornography offences under the “unduly lenient sentence” scheme, which enables sentences to be reviewed by the Court of Appeal.

 

Hampshire detectives charge man following investigation into online sexual offences

Hampshire Constabulary have released a statement about a local investigation into online sexual offences:

Officers from the child abuse investigation team at Hampshire Constabulary have charged a man in connection with an investigation into online sexual offences.

Daniel Norton, from Cheadle, in Stockport, has been charged with the following –

  • Three counts of inciting a female aged 13-15 years to engage in sexual activity
  • Three counts of making an indecent photograph of a child
  • One count of distributing an indecent photograph of a child

The 25-year-old is due to appear at Southampton Magistrates Court later today (Wednesday, December 6).

If you are concerned that a child you know has been a victim of online child sexual abuse, report directly to CEOP via the ClickCEOP reporting button –www.ceop.police.uk. If you would like to understand more about keeping children safe from online sexual abuse, please visit CEOP’s Thinkuknow website  – www.thinkuknow.co.uk.

Additional support for children who don’t feel able to talk to a trusted adult is available from ChildLine on 0800 1111.

Charity chief urges Prime Minister to create CSE national inquiry

Charity 4Children is calling for a stand-alone national inquiry into the extent of child sexual exploitation (CSE) in the wake of the Rotherham abuse scandal.

For Attila

4Children chief executive Anne Longfield has written to Prime Minister David Cameron to make the case for why a national inquiry is needed following the publication last week of the Jay report that found 1,400 children and young people had been victims of systematic sexual abuse over 16 years in Rotherham

The government has vowed to incorporate the findings from Rotherham into its recently announced historical child abuse inquiry, but Longfield argues this gives a “false impression” the issue is in the past when many believe CSE is a growing and widespread problem.   4Children is also concerned that the full extent of systemic neglect and agency failings identified in the Jay report will not be fully scrutinised or addressed if it is part of a wider inquiry.

In her letter, Longfield says the extent and severity of the Rotherham abuse merits a “high-level, time-limited, Prime Ministerial-led inquiry” that should focus on what went wrong in Rotherham; the extent of CSE across the UK; what needs to be done to tackle the problem; and how agencies and communities need to change in order for allegations of CSE to be taken more seriously.  

Longfield said:

“We are calling on the Prime Minister to establish a stand-alone inquiry to reveal the true extent of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham and other areas and answer questions about how and why services continue to fail our children. Adding it to the remit of an historical abuse inquiry misses the point. This week alone a number of potential new victims have come forward.  

“Perpetrators of these horrific crimes were allowed to continue their abuse for decades because nothing was done to stop them. Yet the key findings from the report – agencies not working together and children not being listened to – are not new ones and government must act now to ensure that children’s voices are never ignored again when abuse of this kind is reported. 

“The full scale of this systemic failure may never be known, but government must act now to carry out an urgent and transparent investigation to listen to and protect children and make sure this never happens again in Rotherham or anywhere else in the UK.

 

Eric Pickles tells survivor of alleged child abuse: ‘Adjust your medication’

Eric Pickles

I was amazed to read in the newspaper that Eric Pickles told a survivor of alleged child abuse to “adjust your medication”.

The minister for Communities and Local Government told a survivor of alleged child abuse to “adjust your medication” when she accused him of ignoring her.  He made

the comment in a recorded confrontation with constituent Teresa Cooper earlier this month. Ms Cooper was one of at least six women who say they were drugged as teenagers at the Kendall House care home, Kent, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, whose children now have genetic defects:

Confronting Mr Pickles, who is her constituency MP, she said: “Nothing has changed on the Kendall House abuse. Only you have ignored it. You have ignored it.” Pickles then interjected, shouting: “just, just, adjust your medication”.

Below is the transcript of the conversation and below that the audio recording of the conversation.

Teresa Cooper: you need my signature for…

Eric Pickles: you’ve consistently…  you change your na [unfinished word]… you’ve changed your views…  You give me different stories.

TC: Different stories?

EP: and before I act I need your signature

TC: different stories.. its been proved publicly

EP: [aside]sorry about this

VOICE: no .. its okay

TC: we’ve got all this stuff its been proved publicly and its you – you tell different stores – nothing has changed on the Kendall House abuse? – only you have ignored it.  You have ignored.  You have ignored it.

EP: just, just, adjust your medication

TC: no you…. I am not on medication right, but you need to be, you ignore child abuse and people should know about it.

[youtube id=”p3mSEcVYjeI” width=”580″ height=”337″]

The two met while at a wildlife event in Ongar, Essex, on 14 September and Ms Cooper recorded the conversation. Ms Cooper, 46, said: “I was shocked to be honest. He’s implying I’m mentally ill which is really rude of him because people do have mental health problems and they should not be spoken to that way.”

She added: “The Conservatives say ‘we need to change attitudes about mental health’ but clearly they need to start with Eric Pickles.”

Mr Pickles’ adviser said that the comment  was said in “the heat of the moment” and was his way of giving a blunt piece of advice. Mr Pickles had corresponded with Ms Cooper about some of her concerns but she claims she has been trying to speak to him in person for 16 years.

Mr Pickles said: “It was never my intention to insult Teresa Cooper. I was giving her a frank piece of advice in private.”

Unsurprisingly Mr Pickles has been criticised by a wide range of organisations and individuals including Paul Farmer, chief executive of the mental health charity Mind:

“It is disappointing that a minister would use language that can feed the prejudice around mental health. We would encourage everyone to really consider the impact of using mental health language in a way that could contribute to fuelling stigma.”

I believe that Mr Pickles should offer a full unreserved public apology to Teresa Cooper – we shouldn’t have MPs let alone Ministers using language like that.