Safeguarding e-Bulletin – 1st April 2022
Table of Contents
- What's new at SSS Learning
In the news
- Urge to use Victim's Law to protect young victims of domestic abuse
- Children as young as five using social media
- The new SEND and Alternative Provision (AP) green paper
- Cause for concern – sexual abuse in residential schools
- Review of Youth Worker roles in Schools
- Metropolitan Police Officers Removed From Duty
- IOPC findings indicate underlying Met misogyny
- McCann case to close
- Reproductive Coercion
- Permanent FSM Eligibility for disadvantaged migrant children
- £10M CBT PROGRAMME TO DELIVER THERAPEUTIC SUPPORT
What's new at SSS Learning
It's been a busy start to the year for the team with the release of our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion course, designed to help inform your policy, set out the standards of best practice and help dispel any existing unconscious bias. I know lots of you have already completed the course, thanks for the fantastic feedback.
In addition, we will shortly be releasing our latest course which focuses on supporting educational visits. In addition to the training element, we will also include access to key documents to help you plan and carry them out safely.
SSS Safeguarding System Development Update
We are pleased to introduce an exciting update to our admin dashboard which was implemented overnight (31st March 2022). The new 'Certificate Hub' has arrived! The hub provides a clear picture of the status of certificates in your organisation, allowing you to review and plan training far more effectively. You can now easily monitor, review, and remind your staff if revalidation is required via email within our system. The certificate hub allows you to easily analyse data by course or by staff member and includes much improved spreadsheet downloads should you require them for reporting. We hope you like this new feature and would welcome your feedback and any suggestions for future improvements too. Please do email us on firstname.lastname@example.org with any comments you may have.
Child Mental Health & Wellbeing – 10 Top Tips for Parents
Our video blog has now been viewed more than 11,000 times on our YouTube channel. Please feel free to share the link with colleagues and parents.
In the news:
Urge to use Victim's Law to protect young victims of domestic abuse
In a rise of related child protection referrals, calls are being made for improvements in the support for young survivors of domestic abuse.
Analysis of HM Inspectorate of Constabulary reveal an 8% rise in child protection referrals by police to social services over the last year which relate to domestic abuse. The total of almost 245,000 referrals is the equivalent of 669 a day, according to analysis of figures for 2020/21 made by the NSPCC.
Commenting on the figures, Jo Casebourne, Chief Executive of the Early Intervention Foundation (EIF), said the figures highlight the need to improve support for families, especially to tackle long-term problems around poor access to therapy and other specialist support for children. Casebourne stated:
“There are longstanding gaps in provision for families, including in relation to the availability of prevention services and long-term therapeutic support, support for babies and very young children and culturally specific interventions for minority groups.”
Children are officially recognised as domestic abuse victims (from Feb 2022), through the Domestic Abuse Act, and Local Authorities must provide housing to families escaping violence and abuse in their home. However, whilst welcomed this does not extend to providing much needed community support, such as community-based specialist therapeutic services, and it is unlikely that cash-strapped Local Authorities will divert resources beyond accommodation services.
Anna Edmundson, NSPCC head of policy and public affairs, is urging Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab to use the Victim's Law to address this and ensure young victims of domestic abuse have easy access to professional services within their community to enable them to rebuild their lives.
Children as young as five using social media
Ofcom’s annual study on the media habits of adults and children in the UK reveals that children as young as 5 are using social media despite higher platform age restrictions.
According to data gathered for the study, a third of participating parents of 5 to 7 year-olds stated that their child had a social-media profile and that one in three 8 to 11 year-olds using social media had a TikTok account, despite it being a strictly 13+ platform.
The report also found that even younger children, referred to as ‘TikTots’, were watching videos on TikTok. Responding to the survey, 22% of parents of 3 to 4 year-olds and 38% of parents of 8 to 11-year-olds said they would allow their child to have a profile on social media before they reached the minimum age.
The report also suggests that- 'many children could be tactically using other accounts or 'finstas' (fake Instagrams) to conceal aspects of their online lives from parents'. The report found that the many of the respondent children had multiple profiles on the same social media app or sites. Two out of every three of 8 to 11-year-olds surveyed used multiple accounts or profiles on social media and almost half (46%) having an account just for their family to see. In addition, the survey also found one out of every five of children aged 12-17 surfed in incognito mode or deleted their browsing history.
Whilst the Online Safety Bill will make it a legal requirement for sites and platforms that show pornography to prevent children accessing inappropriate or harmful material, the report suggests a significant minority may already be adept at working around technologies designed to prevent access to inappropriate material. One in twenty respondent children stated they 'circumvented parental controls put in place to stop them visiting certain apps and sites'.
The new SEND and Alternative Provision (AP) green paper
HM Government have published the SEND and AP green paper which sets out central government proposals to improve outcomes for children and young people with SEND or who need AP. The green paper has been published following the completion of the Department for Education's long-awaited SEND review which was launched in 2019.
The proposals focus on every child having access to high quality teaching and support, usually in their local mainstream school, and to ensure professionals have the support and tools to meet the needs of pupils.
- a single, national SEND and AP system with new statutory national SEND and AP standards that set out how needs are identified and met at every stage across education, health, and care. This will establish what support should be provided in schools as standard, when extra provision is required and how it is accessed.
- simplified Education, Health, and Care Plans with a standardised and digitised EHCP process and template, to minimise bureaucracy and deliver consistency.
- excellent provision from early years to adulthood through improved staff training with the introduction of a new SENCo NPQ, as well as investment in new, and improvements to existing specialist and alternative provision and an increase in the number of staff with an accredited level 3 qualification in early years settings.
- a reformed and integrated role for AP including a new delivery model in every local area focused on early intervention, providing support in mainstream schools and establishing AP to form an integral part of local SEND systems, with improvements to settings and more funding stability.
- system roles, funding and accountability with clearer roles and responsibilities for every partner across education, health, care and local government, equipping each partner with the levers they need to fulfil their responsibilities.
The proposed SEND Review green paper is open for public consultation and feedback and will close on Friday 1st July 2022.
Cause for concern – sexual abuse in residential schools
The latest findings of the Residential Schools Investigation, published by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), has revealed concerning cultures of poor practice thereby extending the vulnerability and abuse of children within residential settings.
The inquiry into child sexual abuse findings include:
- Inadequate responses to allegations made against staff;
- Cultures that discouraged reporting of safeguarding concerns and allegations against staff;
- Head Teachers / Principals that did not understand safeguarding or how to manage allegations against staff;
- The prioritisation of school reputation over interests of children.
The report makes 7 key recommendations for settings in England and Wales which include a strong focus on improving training of governance, senior leaders, DSLs and staff. The recommendations also call for the reintroduction of a duty on boarding schools and residential special schools to inform the relevant inspectorate of allegations of child sexual abuse and other serious incidents, together with the introduction of a licensing and registration system of educational guardians for international students.
Review of Youth Worker roles in Schools
The National Youth Agency (NYA) has launched a national review into youth workers' collaboration with schools to support pupil's learning, mental health and employment prospects.
The review, co-chaired by former Children's Minister, Tim Loughton MP and former Shadow Education Secretary, Kate Green, invites evidence from schools, young people and youth organisations by completing the survey, together with additional planned online hearings.
Contributions to the survey may be made on the National Youth Agency site.
And written evidence / supporting evidence may be submitted to email@example.com
Metropolitan Police Officers Removed From Duty
The Metropolitan police has confirmed two of the five officers involved in the traumatic strip search of a 15-year-old girl at her school in Hackney, have been removed from frontline duties.
The confirmation was made during an online community meeting of more than 250 people. Attendees alleged that the Met police was 'institutionally racist' and that the issues raised by the treatment of Child Q had not been addressed. Hackney's Basic Unit commander Marcus Barnett, who led the police panel, admitted to a problem with officers viewing inner London children as 'adults' and that what happened to Child Q would probably not have happened to a child living in the Cotswolds. The Independent Office for Police Conduct is investigating the incident.
Child Q was suspected to be in possession of drugs when she arrived in school smelling of cannabis. School staff searched her and her possessions as permitted under DfE guidelines and found nothing. They reported the matter to the police and subsequently Child Q was strip-searched on school premises by police officers.
A Local Child Safeguarding Practice Review determined that the strip search of Child Q 'should never have happened and there was no reasonable justification for it.'
The review also stated that school staff:
- should have been 'more challenging to the police, seeking clarity about the actions they intended to take';
- 'had an insufficient focus on the safeguarding needs of Child Q when responding to concerns about suspected drug use';
- appeared to have little or no consideration that Child Q may have been a victim of child exploitation;
- were confused in their understanding of the rights of a child to an Appropriate Adult where police become involved and the extent of such a role and powers in protecting children;
- were solely focused on a disciplinary approach.
The review and reference panel also strongly felt that 'had Child Q not been Black, then her experiences are unlikely to have been the same' and that the concept of 'adultification bias' was at play.
IOPC findings indicate underlying Met misogyny
Following an enquiry first launched in 2018, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has published a report with 15 recommendations for tackling evidence of 'disgraceful bullying, misogyny, discrimination and sexual harassment' within the Metropolitan Police. Responding to the report, Met police said it was 'deeply sorry' for the report’s findings.
The inquiry, launched after an officer had sexual relations with a vulnerable woman whilst inside a London police station, also found evidence of messages of police officers who had attended a festival dressed as known sex offenders, discussing rape and making homophobic, racist, misogynistic and ableist comments. Subsequently the messages were described by the officers in question as 'banter'. Fourteen officers were investigated which resulted in two being dismissed for gross misconduct with several others facing disciplinary action. A further two officers resigned.
McCann case to close
11 Years after the disappearance of 3 year-old Madeline McCann, the Metropolitan police investigation into her disappearance is set to close this year. In addition, it is thought that Scotland Yard will be shutting down 'Operation Grange' inquiry, which was set up four years after Madeline went missing during a family holiday in Portugal in 2007, later this year.
Whilst police in Germany consider convicted paedophile and rapist Christian Brueckner to have been involved in Madeline's disappearance from the resort of Praia da Luz, there is insufficient evidence to charge him.
A BBC commissioned survey has found that 50% of women surveyed said they had experienced at least one type of reproductive coercion.
Reproductive coercion is a form of domestic abuse where a person uses pregnancy, contraception and sex to control a person. Examples include:
- forcing someone to have or not to have an abortion;
- damaging or hiding contraceptives;
- pressurising or forcing someone to have sex without contraception.
The survey also found that:
- a third of women surveyed had experienced pressure to have sex without contraception;
- a fifth said they had been forced to have sex without contraception;
- one in ten women had experienced someone hiding, withholding or damaging their contraception;
- one in ten also said they had experienced someone removing a condom during sex without consent, which is classed as rape under UK law.
Permanent FSM Eligibility for disadvantaged migrant children
Children's Minister, Will Quince, has announced that the eligibility for free school meals (FSM) will be permanently extended to cover children from families who are unable to access benefits due to their immigration status. This replaces the temporary eligibility made available to those deemed as having 'no recourse to public funds' (NRPF) granted at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Permanent eligibility will start from 19 April and will mean children whose families are classed as having NRPF will also be eligible for pupil premium funding and free home to school transport.
£10M CBT PROGRAMME TO DELIVER THERAPEUTIC SUPPORT
Children at risk of violence across London are set to benefit from a new programme centred on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
Under the the Your Choice programme, delivered by London's Violence Reduction Unit (VRU), specialist frontline youth workers will work across the capital's children's services to deliver CBT interventions to help young people manage life challenges, including involvement in gangs, exploitation and violent crime.
The three-year programme which offers intensive therapeutic support for 11 to 17 year-olds is being funded by a £10m grant from the Home Office and the Youth Endowment Fund.
SSS Learning Safeguarding Director