November Comments

ANONNov 28th, 2014 @ 09:11 PM

Former children's home worker John Cowan jailed for abuse….
A former children's home worker has been sentenced to eight years in prison for child abuse committed in the 1970s.
John Cowan, 72, was found guilty at Harrow Crown Court of sexually abusing six children at a care home in Ealing.
He was convicted on nine counts of indecent assault and two counts of gross indecency.
Cowan, of Littlebourne, Hither Green in Lewisham, was tracked down after a victim went to police in January 2013.
She told officers he abused her when she was aged seven or eight in 1971 and 1972 in the attic of the home, and believed other children had been abused too, the Metropolitan Police said.
…'House father'…
Officers identified six further victims from the children's home: five women aged between five and 10 at the time and a man who was aged six at the time of the abuse.
Mr Cowan left the children's home in 1973 having worked there as a "house father".
He was traced and arrested on 26 July 2013 and later charged.
The jury heard Mr Cowan had 24 previous convictions for sexual offences against children.
He was jailed for 12-and-a-half years in 1994 on 16 counts and is on the Sex Offenders' Register for life.
Det Con Cathy Hewitson said Mr Cowan "took advantage of his senior position at the home to abuse a number of vulnerable children". He worked at several children's homes in Essex, London and Scotland from the 1970s onward.
She added: "It is highly likely there are other victims out there who perhaps have felt too scared to come forward before or thought there was little point given the passage of time." Friday. 28 November 2014

ANONNov 28th, 2014 @ 09:10 PM

Seven jailed for part in Bristol sex abuse gang….
Seven men who were in a gang which raped and abused girls in Bristol have been jailed for up to 11 years.
Four teenage girls were abused by the men, who are of Somali heritage, Bristol Crown Court was told. Victims were told it was part of the men's "culture and tradition" and "men always have sex with each other's girlfriends". A 13-year-old was raped four times by three different men in a Premier Inn in Bristol city centre.
…'No mercy'…
Said Zakaria, 22, was sentenced to 11 years for rape and sex with a child.
Sentencing Zakaria, who raped a girl twice in one night, Judge Julian Lambert said "You showed utter disregard for her integrity.
"You were merciless. I will show you no mercy, nor should you receive it."
Mohamed Jomale, 24, was sentenced to 10 years for rape and sex with a child.
Judge Lambert told him: "She cared deeply for you; love flowed only one way. You reciprocated only with lust on your part.
"The law is there to protect girls being sexualised. You dominated a girl who was far too young."
…Child prostitution…
Jomale was also convicted of aiding and abetting his brother Omar, 20, with one of the girls telling her to have sex with Omar "to prevent him from turning gay".
Also sentenced of Friday were:
• Jusuf Abdirizak, 20, was jailed for seven-and-a-half years for rape
• Sakariah Sheik, 21, was sentenced to four years years for rape and sex with a child
• Abdirashid Abdulahi, 21, was sentenced to four years for rape
• Omar Jumale, 20, was sentenced for two years for sex with a child
• Mohamed Dahir, 22, was sentenced to two years for causing child prostitution
The victims were aged between 13 and 17 at the time of the offences.
A trial held earlier in the year saw six other men jailed for the rape and sexual abuse of two girls at a flat in the Easton area of Bristol.
Details of that case were only be reported on Thursday, after reporting restrictions were lifted following the convictions of the seven jailed on Friday. 28 November 2014

ANONNov 28th, 2014 @ 09:09 PM

Sex predators face jail for grooming….

Sex predators will face jail terms of between 10 and 14 years for using the internet to groom minors or force them to share explicit images, under laws aimed at strengthening child protection.
The heads of the Sexual Offences Bill 2014 also proposes to strengthen the existing offence of meeting a child for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said the new offences “reflect the reality that predatory sexual activity to target children can now take place online or via social media”.
For the first time, the purchasing of sex has been criminalised. Up to now, the prostitute was breaking the law but the pimp was not.
Sarah Benson of Ruhama, a group that has been calling for such a provision, said it is an important step in curbing the growth of prostitution “and holding the sex buyers to account for their key role in fuelling organised crime.”
The Immigrant Council of Ireland also welcomed the move.
The bill also contains measures to heighten the supervision of sex offenders upon release, including allowing Gardaí to disclose names and addresses in the public interest.
The laws will also allow for the electronic tagging of sex offenders in limited circumstances. By Mary Regan, Friday, November 28, 2014

ANONNov 28th, 2014 @ 09:07 PM

Former Hunterhouse teacher Francis Noel Stroud teacher sentenced….
A former grammar school vice principal has been given a suspended sentence after he admitted indecently assaulting three female pupils.
Francis Noel Stroud, 68, was sentenced to three years on probation.
He pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting the teenage students while working as a maths teacher at Hunterhouse College in south Belfast.
Stroud, of Sandymount Mews, Dunmurry, Belfast, indecently touched the girls and kissed one on the lips.
He was told by a judge that he had committed a "serious breach of trust''.
Belfast Crown Court heard that the offences came to light when Stroud was being interviewed by police in February 2011 for harassing a pupil he was privately tutoring by touching her leg and sending her "inappropriate" text' messages.
He was convicted of harassing his 16-year-old victim in March 2014 at Craigavon Crown Court and handed down a two-year probation order.
A prosecution lawyer told a judge on Friday that during the course of police interviews Stroud told detectives he would not harass the girl "because of what happened to me at Hunterhouse'' in 1997.
"That sparked police to make inquiries with the school and these three ladies which has now led to these charges,'' the barrister told the court.
Police inquiries revealed that between 1996 and 1997, three third form pupils, all aged 14, had reported to a teacher at the school that Stroud, who at the time was vice principal, had indecently touched them.
The girls said he had put his hand on their legs and in one instance he placed his hand on the leg of one of the students and "moved his hand up her inner thigh''.
On a further occasion, one of the pupils reported that he had "kissed her full on the lips''.
The court was told that the girls' parents were informed and during meetings at the school it was decided not to involve the police so as to "protect the children and protect them from a criminal court case'' and to deal with the matter internally instead.
"At the end of the school term, the accused was subject to disciplinary procedures and he was sacked for gross misconduct," the lawyer said.
…'Significant impact'…
The court heard that Stroud took an unfair dismissal case to an industrial tribunal, but lost his action.
The prosecutor added that it was clear from the victim impact statements that Stroud's activities had had a "significant impact on them''.
A defence barrister said that following his dismissal fro

Where is KilbarryNov 28th, 2014 @ 08:11 PM

A De La Salle Brother who held senior positions at a residential home in Co Down has been giving evidence to Northern Ireland's Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry. The Brother, who is in his 70s, was interviewed by police seven times over a 20-year period but never charged or prosecuted. He told the inquiry that dealing with charges he denies has controlled his life for the past 20 years. 

I'm sure Kilbarry could clear this up if one knew where to contact him!

ANONNov 27th, 2014 @ 09:06 AM

Government may appoint officer for child protection….

The Government is to consider appointing a nationally recognised, go-to figure that children around the country could contact in confidence with complaints of abuse.
The suggestion was made by the abuse survivor Louise O’Keeffe in her first meeting with Taoiseach Enda Kenny since she won a landmark case earlier this year following a 15-year legal battle against the State.
The Taoiseach issued a public apology to her in January after the European Court of Human Rights ruled the State was negligent in failing to protect her from abuse by her national school principal in the 1970s.
The Cork mother of two had initially lost a High Court action, and then a Supreme Court appeal, and at times feared she would lose her home to pay for the legal costs. It was eventually heard in Europe despite vehement opposition from the State.
She told the Irish Examiner last night she would now like to see an apology issued to all those abused in national day-schools, similar to that made to victims of clerical sex abuse.
“The Taoiseach had issued an apology to me back in January. He did not reiterate the apology today. But he did congratulate me on staying the course and keeping going with the case because of my principles,” she said after the meeting.
“He said ‘well done’ to me. So, fingers-crossed that, because he appreciated the length of time it took, and the success at the end of it, for children, they will take that on board and we will have a positive outcome.”
During the meeting, which included Minister for Children James Reilly, and Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan, Ms O’Keeffe was promised that 135 other victims of abuse in national schools would get a response from the Government before Christmas.
Some 44 of these people still have pending cases against the State, but the remainder dropped their cases when, just a month after Ms O’Keeffe lost her Supreme Court case, the State wrote to them urging them to do so.
Ms O’Sullivan told her yesterday that she would bring proposals to cabinet by the end of the year on how to respond to all those who had been abused in the national school system.
“I would be hopeful it would be done on friendly terms and that an apology will come to all of the people involved in those cases, and all of the children who have been abused in our schools,” she said. “It should have been brought to cabinet sooner, it has taken ten months up to now.”

ANONNov 27th, 2014 @ 09:05 AM

Just one in four children in foster care in parts of east coast have a social worker….

One-in-four children in foster care in parts of Dublin, Kildare and Wicklow do not have an allocated social worker, according to a Hiqa report.
The inspection report on foster care services in Dublin South West/Kildare/West Wicklow found that 111 of 429 children did not have an allocated social worker, meaning they were potentially at risk.
Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) inspectors found evidence of good practice but also found that a number of children with no allocated social worker, had not been visited enough to check on their welfare — with no record of a statutory visit in over four years in one case.
The report also showed there were 46 relative foster carer households caring for children who had not yet been approved by the foster care committee. Meanwhile, a number of children who did not have an allocated social worker were living with foster carers who also did not have an allocated link worker.
“Consequently, no professional was visiting these households to identify if care needs were being met and/or if the placement was safe,” the report found.
It also found 143 out of 429 (33%) children did not have an up-to-date statutory child-in-care review, and that 32 children (7%) did not have a written care plan in place.
As for those leaving care, the report found some issues, including a waiting list for an aftercare service provided by an external agency. One-third of those over the age of 16 had not yet been referred to the aftercare service, and most in this category did not have an allocated after-care worker.
Some 20 relative foster carers were also on a waiting list for assessment, while there were delays in vetting and in re-vetting foster carers who had previously been assessed.
Thirteen foster placements had ended in an unplanned way in the last 12 months, including as a result of allegations against foster carers. Inspectors found that some allegations made against foster carers were not managed and investigated in line with Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children, By Noel Baker, November 27, 2014

ANONNov 27th, 2014 @ 09:04 AM

Almost 100 Glasgow children at risk of sexual exploitation….
“The report said that secure care had been used to protect some young people from "significant harm"….
A total of 97 children in Glasgow have been identified as being victims of or at risk of sexual exploitation.
The findings come in a council report examining the implications for Glasgow of the inquiry following the child sex abuse scandal in Rotherham.
The inquiry estimated that 1,400 children in Rotherham were sexually exploited between 1997 and 2013.
Glasgow City Council has been involved in two police-led operations into child sexual exploitation in three years.
One of the operations is still live.
The report states: "It is difficult to accurately estimate the number of young people subject to child sexual exploitation in Glasgow although the current operation with the police identified 97 children and young people who potentially were victims of/or at risk of child sexual exploitation.
"Of this group, the current police operation focused on 39, with a number of those screened out, already known to services and supported.
"The screening was for the purpose of the investigation, and all of the young people's circumstances explored on a multi-agency basis."
…'Significant harm'…
The development of an action p…lan to address child sexual exploitation in Glasgow has been agreed. It will focus on four areas: awareness-raising; investigation; interventions; and process and procedures.
The report said that secure care had been used to protect some young people from "significant harm" but recognised that this was a "holding situation" rather than a permanent solution.
The report will go to the Children and Families Policy Development Committee on Thursday.
…'Robust response'…
A Glasgow City Council spokesperson said: "As the committee report indicates, there have been a number of instances of child sexual exploitation in Glasgow.
"Our child protection staff are very aware of the issues surrounding child exploitation and have a strong understanding of the indicators that point towards a child being abused.
"The council's child protection team works closely with the police and other partners through the child protection committee to respond to any allegations of young people being exploited for sexual purposes.
"The child protection team's primary focus is to protect the child while police work to bring offenders to justice.
"Partners within the child protection committee structure do w

ANONNov 27th, 2014 @ 09:03 AM

Abuse inquiry: Former boy's home worker denies raping boy….
“A lawyer told the inquiry of a claim that the boy was raped in the back of a van”….
A former worker at Rubane House boys' care home in County Down has denied raping a boy and threatening to throw him off Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge.
The man, who is now elderly, has been giving evidence to the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry.
Counsel to the inquiry said a former resident had alleged "you raped him in the back of a van".
Replying to this, and a claim that he took the boy to his home, the former lay worker said: "I never abused him."
The lawyer said: "You threatened him on the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge that you would throw him over if he ever told anyone."
Another former teacher at the school described allegations of physical abuse against him as, "most disturbing, simply ridiculous and beyond comprehension".
The HIA inquiry was set up in 2013 to investigate child abuse in residential institutions in Northern Ireland over a 73-year period, up to 1995.
A total of 13 Northern Ireland institutions are being investigated.
The inquiry is currently examining alleged abuse at Rubane.
About 200 former residents have made allegations of abuse.
A total of 55 former residents have come forward to the inquiry to allege that they were physically or sexually abused. Thursday, 27 November, 2014

ANONNov 27th, 2014 @ 09:02 AM

Jessica Wiggins convicted of allowing baby death….
A mother has been found guilty of allowing the death of her 12-week-old daughter.
Isabella Vallance died of a head injury in December 2012 at the family home in Stanley Close, Redditch.
Her father Tyler Vallance, 21, admitted killing her earlier this year. At the time, the court heard she had suffered nine broken ribs in two attacks.
Jessica Wiggins, 20, of Heathfield Road, Redditch, was convicted after a trial at Worcester Crown Court.
…'Callous individual'…
Both Wiggins and Vallance are due to be sentenced on 18 December.
The jury was told Isabella died at Birmingham Children's Hospital.
A post-mortem examination revealed she had head injuries and fractures to her ribs and legs.
The court heard these injuries had been suffered at the hands of her father, who had assaulted her on more than one occasion.
Wiggins and Vallance, who lived together in Redditch following the birth of their child, had been having problems with their relationship.
In July, Wiggins was acquitted of a charge of child cruelty, but the jury failed to reach a verdict on a separate count of allowing the death of her child, prompting a retrial.
A month earlier, Vallance pleaded guilty to manslaughter and inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent.
Speaking after the latest verdict, Det Ch Insp Jon Marsden of West Mercia Police said: "The death of any young child is a tragedy and Isabella Vallance had lived for just 86 days.
"She should have had a full life ahead of her but that was taken away by her father, a callous individual who could not control his emotions or his temper.
"As parents they were in a position of trust and care but sadly they did not live up to their responsibilities." Thursday, November 27, 2014

ANONNov 27th, 2014 @ 09:01 AM

John Allen trial: Former children's home boss guilty of 26 abuse charges….
“John Allen ran 11 homes in the Wrexham area”….
A former children's homes boss has been found guilty of 26 charges of sexually abusing youngsters in Wrexham.
John Allen, 73, of Needham Market, Suffolk, denied 40 counts of sexual abuse against 19 boys and one girl in the late 1960s up to the early 1990s.
The jury in his trial at Mold Crown Court started their deliberations last Wednesday. The trial began in October.
Allen has been found not guilty of two charges. The jury is still deliberating on 12 charges.
The case was adjourned for the rest of Wednesday.
The former hotelier and pop band manager ran 11 homes in the Wrexham area known as the Bryn Alyn Community, despite not having any qualifications for the work he was doing.
The prosecution claimed he was a "regular and formidable presence" at the homes, saying Allen created "a sexualised atmosphere... alongside a culture of fear".
The trial also heard that some children spoke to those in authority, including the police, but were often ignored or disbelieved.
Jurors were also told of Allen's previous conviction in 1995 for six counts of indecent assault involving repeated abuse of six boys dating from the 1970s.
More complainants came forward following the publication of the Waterhouse report into abuse in north Wales care homes in 2001 and after the setting up of Operation Pallial in 2012 to investigate claims of historical child abuse, the court heard.
It is the first trial held as part of the Operation Pallial investigation which has identified 120 potential suspects. Thursday, 27 November, 2014

ANONNov 27th, 2014 @ 09:00 AM

Children on protection register in Wales total rises again….
“The largest increase was in registrations for emotional abuse of children”….
The number of children on child protection registers in Wales has risen for the sixth year running.
The total rose by 6% in 2013/14 to 3,135 children, 59% higher than the total of 1,970 12 years ago.
The vast majority of registrations were due to either neglect or emotional abuse, with the proportion due to sexual abuse falling.
Children's commissioner Keith Towler said the increase showed the procedures were "doing their job".
A child is placed on a register if they have been harmed or are thought to be at significant risk of harm.
Their wellbeing and development is then monitored more closely by social services.
The reasons for a registration are categorised as either neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse or emotional abuse.

• Merthyr Tydfil has the highest number of children on the register per head of population, followed by Rhondda Cynon Taf and Neath Port Talbot
• Flintshire saw the biggest rise in registrations last year at 130%
• Pembrokeshire saw the biggest fall with 44%...

Emotional abuse was the main factor behind the increasing number of children registered since 2001/02.
The proportion of registrations as a result of sexual abuse fell over the same period.
Most children have been on the register for less than six months, with less than one in five being on the register for more than a year.
Mr Towler said: "Lots of training has been going on with all kinds of professionals who have direct access to children and young people.
"And what those professionals will know is if there's any level of concern they need to report that to either social services or the police.
"So levels of awareness are probably higher than they have been in Wales for some time." Thursday, 27 November, 2014

ANONNov 27th, 2014 @ 08:59 AM

Paedophile foster carer Christopher Purnell is jailed….
“Christopher Purnell's sex offending dated back to 1982, the court heard”….
A "champion" foster carer has been jailed for seven and a half years for sex offences against children.
Christopher Purnell, 62, from Minyrhose, Ystradgynlais, was downloading child abuse images until days before his arrest.
Purnell, who once set up a helpline for children in distress, was convicted of 22 offences at Swansea Crown Court.
They included indecency with a child, indecent assault, sexual activity with a child and making indecent photos.
The jury heard police checks on Purnell's computers found he had trawled the internet for indecent images.
But he denied the offences, claiming he had been researching material for a book he was writing on naturalism.
…'Belongs in jail'…
One victim told the court Purnell had taken photographs of him naked when he was a boy, telling him he had a customer who would pay for them.
The man said he agreed to pose because he thought the money might lead to a better life and Purnell had threatened to have him put into a remand home if he did not cooperate. He also got a teenage boy drunk and the boy woke up the following morning without any pyjamas on and "feeling really bad".
The court heard Purnell, who was a chairman of a foster carers' association, boasted to one boy about his importance in fostering, and how he worked with council social services.
John Hipkin, prosecuting, said Purnell's sex offending dated back to 1982, when he was convicted of indecently assaulting a boy.
He was also found guilty of making indecent photographs of a child in 2012, as well as 20 crimes in between.
After the jury returned guilty verdicts, one of Purnell's victims said: "No-one could say anything against him in those days, he was a champion of fostering. And no-one was going to believe what I had to say."
"Now, Purnell is where he belongs, in jail," he added. Thursday, 27 November, 2014

ANONNov 27th, 2014 @ 08:58 AM

Child abuse allegations just tip of the iceberg, warns Theresa May….
Theresa May told the Andrew Marr Show that child abuse claims from the 1970s and 1980s may be the 'tip of the iceberg'
The allegations of child sex abuse at public institutions that have emerged so far are just the "tip of the iceberg", senior Government minister Theresa May has warned.
The Home Secretary said it was crucial for society to "get to the truth" of what happened in the 1970s and 1980s. Meanwhile, Scotland Yard chief Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe insisted police are taking claims "seriously" and promised there will be no cover-up.
The Government is still seeking a chairman for its wide-ranging inquiry into the handling of paedophile activity by public bodies after two candidates quit over their links to senior figures from the period.
Among the latest allegations are that police may have helped cover up the murder of an eight-year-old boy by a Westminster paedophile ring. Mrs May said in an interview yesterday that she was determined that the issues would be fully investigated.
"How was it that in the past, but continuing today, the very institutions of the state that should be protecting children were not doing so?" she said.
"Why was it that these abuses took place and that nobody was brought to justice? We must get to the truth of that and I think what we're seeing is frankly only the tip of the iceberg on this issue."
The Metropolitan Police commissioner said dozens of detectives were investigating historic Westminster child abuse allegations and there was no question of anything being covered up while he was in post.
"We have got 40 detectives looking into these relatively new claims," he said. "We have now had more recently this discussion or these claims about murder and, of course, that makes it even more serious." By James Tapsfield, 27 November, 2014

ANONNov 27th, 2014 @ 08:57 AM

Sex offender loses freedom bid….
“John Dillon argued that his continued detention was unlawful”….
A sex offender from Yorkshire has lost a freedom bid at one of Europe's highest courts.
John Dillon from Cottingley Drive, Morley, sexually assaulted a 15-year-old girl while out on licence for indecently assaulting other girls. He was ordered to serve at least four years in prison after his conviction in April 2007.
He took a legal challenge to the European Court of Human Rights arguing that his continued detention was unlawful. The HMP Whatton inmate claimed poor organisation of prison courses meant he could not demonstrate to parole chiefs that he posed less risk.
But the panel of seven judges ruled: "The Court is satisfied that a real opportunity for rehabilitation was provided to the applicant and that there was no unreasonable delay in providing him access to assessments and courses."
Dillon, currently detained in the Nottingham jail, had been given an indeterminate sentence for public protection following his conviction for sexual assault, the judges said. He was given a minimum tariff period of four years, West Yorkshire Police said.
His release after the expiry of this tariff period was subject to the approval of the Parole Board, the European Court's judgement said.
Dillon completed the core Sex Offenders Treatment Programme (SOTP) in March 2009 and had been assessed as suitable for the extended SOTP. But then the prison authorities concluded that he was insufficiently motivated to undertake the extended course.
The inmate complained that the only way that he could address the risk he presented to the public was by completing the extended SOTP, but his access to this course had been delayed.
The European judges concluded that prompt steps were taken to begin the applicant's progression through the prison system, even before the expiry of his minimum tariff.
"The nine-month delay between the expiry of his tariff and his reassessment for the SOTP was not unreasonable having regard to the access to courses which he had enjoyed by that date, the continued efforts to ensure further progress through the prison system and his overall progression throughout the period of his detention.
"In these circumstances the Court is satisfied that a real opportunity for rehabilitation was provided to the applicant and that there was no unreasonable delay in providing him access to assessments and courses."
Reacting to the decision, prisons minister Andrew Selou

ANONNov 27th, 2014 @ 08:56 AM

Vigil at Dáil recalls 78 women and 10 kids killed by domestic abuse….
Seventy-eight pairs of women’s shoes and 10 pairs of children’s shoes were placed outside the gates of Leinster House yesterday.
They were a stark reminder of the women murdered by their partners or ex-partners since 1996 and the children killed alongside their mothers.
Women’s Aid yesterday held a minute’s silence outside Dáil Éireann to remember the “stolen lives”.
Women’s Aid director Margaret Martin said action was needed now. The domestic violence service believes greater awareness will lead to an improved response to domestic abuse by the State and its agencies.
“Risk factors for intimate partner homicide include physical abuse, threats to kill, controlling behaviour, stalking, and harassment,” said Ms Martin.
“Separation is also a risk factor for escalating violence and is often the most dangerous time for women in abusive relationships,” she said.
“These types of abuse are disclosed every day by women ringing our national freephone helpline.”
Last year, more than 17,000 calls were answered by Women’s Aid .
“We listened to women disclose shocking levels of abuse. Many women felt that their situation was not being treated as seriously as it should be,” said Ms Martin.
In particular, women spoke of inconsistent responses by State institutions and agencies such as the courts and gardaí.
Ms Martin said the experiences reported by the women were supported by the recent Garda Inspectorate Report into Crime Investigation.
The report, as well as highlighting cases of individual good practice revealed very serious gaps in the official response to domestic abuse cases.
Ms Martin said Women’s Aid could not leave the safety of women and children to chance. “It is a very serious crime with very serious and wide ranging outcomes for women and children, the bleakest of which we are highlighting today.”
A recently-published report by the Justice Committee recommended emergency barring orders, the creation of the criminal offence of stalking and the call to ratify the Istanbul Convention on Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence.
Ms Martin said they had been calling for the changes recommended by the committee over many years. She said the forthcoming National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender Based Violence was a real opportunity to make significant advances in how Ireland responds to domestic abuse.
The minute’s silence took pla

ANONNov 27th, 2014 @ 08:55 AM

Sex offences claim at Donaldson's school for deaf children….

Police are looking into claims sexual offences were carried out at the national school for deaf children.
Donaldson's School in Linlithgow has been given a week to come up with a plan to deal with serious concerns about the way the school is being run.
Police are also assessing allegations. It is understood they relate to claims of serious sexual offences and how some people at the school responded to them.
The school said it was unable to comment at this time.
A spokesperson said: "This is a sensitive matter and with internal investigations ongoing, we are unable to comment on the names, job titles or any other specifics of this case".
BBC Scotland understands some allegations are historical in nature.
…Insufficient progress…
Donaldson's is a grant-aided special school (GASS) supported by the Scottish government.
Local authorities from all over Scotland and the north of England refer pupils there and fund their placements.
The notice calling for an improvement plan within a week is the first of its kind to be issued for 15 years.
A report from Education Scotland last year criticised leadership at the school - and a follow up report said insufficient progress was being made putting things right.
The school has stressed its first priority is always the safety and wellbeing of pupils and a new principal was recently appointed.
Work is underway to come up with the improvement plan before the deadline. By Jamie McIvor, Thursday, November 27, 2014

ANONNov 27th, 2014 @ 08:55 AM

Government will not oppose adoption birth cert Bill….
Philomena Lee backs law which would help women separated from sons and daughters by adoption
The Government will not oppose a new adoption Bill which seeks to give adoptees a right to their birth certificates, listing their original names and their birth parents’ names. The legislation was produced by Senator Averil Power, who was adopted from a mother-and baby home, and is co-sponsored by Senators Jillian van Turnhout, a children’s rights campaigner, and Fidelma Healy Eames, an adoptive mother.
In theory, the draft legislation would provide up to 50,000 adopted people with the right to their birth certificates for the first time. However, while the Government will not oppose the legislation, it is likely to be amended significantly before any new law is enacted.
A spokesman for Minister for Children Dr James Reilly said he had “no difficulty in principle” with the Bill. However, following legal advice, he said there may be constitutional issues in relation to the provision which allows for the sharing of information without the requirement of consent from the birth parent.
“The Minister feels the Bill would benefit from wider consultation,” he said. “The Government agrees with him that it should be referred to the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children for further discussion,” he said”
The department was drawing up its own legislation and it might be that parts of the Senators’ bill could be incorporated into this legislation, the Minister’s spokesman added.
Legislation to enhance the rights of adopted people has been promised by the Government for the past three years. Under the terms of Senator Power’s Bill – which would apply retrospectively – every adopted person would have a right to their birth cert listing their original name and their birth parents’ names.
In addition, adoptees and the birth parents could choose whether they were happy to have their contact details shared with each other. However, parents would still have a right to prevent the release of their contact details.
Ms Power said she felt her legislation was not in breach of the Constitution, given that it sought to balance the adoptee’s right to identity with a birth parent’s right to privacy. “I welcome the Government’s decision not to oppose the Bill and look forward to working with them to get it enacted into law as soon as possible,” she said. “I would very much welcome the [he

ANONNov 27th, 2014 @ 08:54 AM

Reilly pressured over adoption rights….
Adoption campaigners have warned Children’s Minister Dr James Reilly that all six of his predecessors have reneged on promises to give basic tracing rights to adopted people.
Welcoming the Seanad debate on Senator Averil Power’s Adoption (Identity & Information) Bill, Susan Lohan of the Adoption Rights Alliance (ARA) said that every government since 1997 had consistently refused to legislate in the area, despite repeated promises.
“Both domestic and international human rights experts [continue] to suspect that this Government [will] continue ‘to deny until we die’ in a cynical and misguided attempt to spare the blushes of, and reduce the financial liability of the State and the various religious groups behind the systemic abuse of unmarried mothers and their children,” she said.
Under the proposed legislation, all adopted people will have a right to their birth certs, listing their original names and the name of their natural mother — and father, if available.
Natural parents can ask for information about their adopted sons or daughters. Adoptees and their parents can also choose whether they are happy to have their contact details released.
Speaking during the debate, Dr Reilly said that, while there was much to admire in the Bill, unlike the Government’s proposed legislation, it did not “differentiate between prospective and restrospective adoptions”.
Dr Reilly was referring to the 1998 Supreme Court ruling which found the natural mother’s constitutional right to privacy had to be balanced against the child’s constitutional right to identity. Adopted people have claimed the ruling has been used to allow a blanket ban on the release of any adoption records so as to avoid opening up the issue of forced and illegal adoptions.
Earlier this year, a claim by Taoiseach Enda Kenny that a referendum may be needed to give adopted people basic rights was dismissed as one which “does not survive scrutiny”.
Senior lecturer in Constitutional Law at UCC, Dr Conor O’Mahony pointed out that while the 1998 judgment accepted the mother’s right to privacy, it stipulated that “the natural mother did not have an absolute constitutional or legal right to have the anonymity guaranteed to them at the time they placed the child for adoption preserved”.
Dr Reilly said the Government’s Bill would place the National Contact Adoption Preference Register (NACPR) on a statutory footing. Adoption groups have

ANONNov 26th, 2014 @ 03:13 PM

Child protection fears raised….

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre (Ceop) is now part of the National Crime Agency
Staff at the organisation aimed at tackling online child sexual exploitation have to share computers and youngsters could be put at risk because of problems at the body, ex-employees have claimed.
One ex-member of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop) claimed that staff were "fighting to do their job".
But the National Crime Agency (NCA), of which Ceop has been part since last year, said the centre was "stronger and more resilient" than when it was a standalone body.
Former Ceop social worker Emma Howard, who left in May, said social work at the centre " became very very difficult because it didn't fit into a traditional law enforcement approach".
She told BBC2's Newsnight: "It was seen as peripheral, it wasn't valued. Senior managers within the social work team, within the child protection team at Ceop, were fighting to be able to do our job before we could even get on and do our job."
Setting out her concerns about the IT at Ceop, she said: "There are people at Ceop who don't have direct access to the internet. They have to share that access with other people at Ceop."
She added: "If government continues to underfund services like Ceop then these children will continue to be at risk because the resources aren't there to protect them."
Former detective Tom Simmons, who retired earlier this year, told the programme: "C learly we are leaving children at risk of sexual abuse, and we've just seen in the press the historic abuse cases, things from many, many years ago that are still causing so much hurt and so much pain to people.
"Do we want to be in a position in 15 years time when we look back and say, yeah, we had all those investigations where we didn't do anything or we could have investigated and we've left all those abusers out there to abuse?" Former Ceop chief executive Jim Gamble, who quit in 2010 after the plan to make the organisation part of the NCA was announced, told Newsnight: " I don't accept that it hasn't changed for the worst. Ceop was about being child centred. "Ceop was an organisation where child protection wasn't part of the agenda, it was the agenda; where we blended social care with education and a professional criminal justice response.
"I believe that's been lost."
He added: "At best it has really withered on the vine and at worst now we have a situation where too few specialis

ANONNov 26th, 2014 @ 03:12 PM

Mum dropped baby boy on tiled floor and left him loose in car….

A baby was dropped on a tiled floor by his drunken mother and in another incident weeks later she put him in a child seat in a car without securing him and he was seriously injured again.
The infant has since been diagnosed with severe mental disability as a result of which he will never be capable of attending mainstream schooling or independent living. He is over two years of age now and has yet to say his first word.
These matters came to light during a hearing at Cork Circuit Criminal Court where the infant’s mother faced sentencing on two charges of intentionally or recklessly causing serious harm to the baby, once in February and once in March last year. The mother cannot be named as it would identify the child, whose name cannot be disclosed publicly.
The injuries came to light when the child was presented for medical attention at Cork University Hospital in at the end of March 2013, when he was about six months old.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said: “My concern is protecting the child from his mother which is a harsh thing to say.
“This is a very, very troubling case, recklessly causing suffering to an infant.
“An aggravating factor is that the abuse was on a continuous basis. We are talking about dropping a six-month-old child on a tiled floor and a child being bounced around a car where he was not restrained in a car seat. This basically is animalistic behaviour towards a child on a continuous basis.”
At Cork Circuit Criminal Court, the judge imposed a five-year sentenced, but suspended it.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said: “I am superimposing myself on the family court and any other court. Let it be known that any application [by the mother for access to her son] may be regarded as a breach of the suspension.”
Alice Fawsett, senior counsel, said the defendant presented on the day the child’s injuries were discovered with injuries of her own.
She had suffered facial injuries and claimed to gardaí that girls in town had beaten her up.
However, it was later established that her partner had beaten her and that this man has since since jailed for other crimes.
When interviewed by the gardaí she admitted the two offences in relation to the baby.
However, Judge Ó Donnabháin said his concern was the permanent safety of the child.
“The things that allowed me in two recent cases of imposing a suspended sentence [where parents assaulted children] was evidence that a res

ANONNov 26th, 2014 @ 02:21 PM

Rotherham Council's 'serious failures put children at risk'….
“Rotherham Council's children's services have been rated 'inadequate”….
"Widespread or serious failures" at Rotherham Council are leaving young people at risk of harm, Ofsted has warned.
An inspection by the watchdog last month rated the authority's children's services as "inadequate".
The new report said management had not sufficiently understood the failures or been effective in making improvements.
Rotherham Council said it "fully accepted" the findings of the report.
Ofsted's verdict comes after the Jay Report, published in August, revealed up to 1,400 children were sexually abused in the town between 1997 and 2013.
…'Apologies aren't enough'…
Ofsted itself was criticised by MPs on Tuesday for not carrying out effective inspections in Rotherham over the period covered by the Jay Report.
In response, the watchdog said it had now introduced a "more rigorous inspection framework".
Its new report, published earlier, covered an inspection between 16 September and 8 October.
Inspectors found children's welfare had not been safeguarded and police and social workers still did not work together properly.
"This means that key information held by other agencies may not be taken into account, and potential risks to children may not be considered," said the report.
Council leader Paul Lakin said keeping children safe remained the authority's highest priority.
"We are sorry that we have let them down in the past, but we know that apologies simply aren't enough," he said.
"We are determined and committed to addressing all the issues raised in this report, and must demonstrate that we are doing so, if we are to rebuild trust and confidence in our services."