NSPCC presses for extension of police child protection training

NSPCC presses for extension of police child protection training 

The NSPCC has called for all police officers to receive in-depth child protection training after it emerged that members of a new police taskforce will receive instruction on the issue.

Under Home Office plans, all 4,000 officers of the National Crime Agency (NCA), due to be launched later this year, will receive training on spotting the signs of child abuse – with different levels of training for different officers.

The NCA is set to take on the remits of both the Serious and Organised Crime Agency and the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre.

The NSPCC said that while it welcomed the training announcement, it wants ministers to go further by ensuring adequate child protection training is in place for all police officers.

Jon Brown, head of strategy and development at the charity, said: “If it is additional investment in child abuse training for those officers, it is clearly to be welcomed because undoubtedly opportunities have been missed in many child abuse and child sexual exploitation cases due to a lack of knowledge.

“But there is also a real value in multi-agency, multi-disciplinary training for all police officers.

“There are many child abuse cases day-in, day-out that children’s services and police are having to investigate and manage, and the vast majority will fall outside the remit of the NCA.

“We would like to see similar investment in local level, multi-agency child abuse training.”

Brown said that current training for police varies “from area to area”.

“Certainly we know that multi-agency child protection training has been squeezed as a result of budget cuts and that is a concern,” he said.

The move to provide NCA officers with child protection training follows the conviction of grooming rings in Oxford, Rochdale, Rotherham and Telford, and the case of four-year-old Daniel Pelka who was beaten and starved by his mother and her partner.

A Home Office spokesman said: “Child abuse is an evil crime and we are determined to stamp down on anyone who seeks to harm the most vulnerable members of society.

“The NCA will see more resources devoted to tackling paedophiles and child abusers, whether they seek to commit their horrific crimes in person or online.

“The NCA will carry out this vital work as part of a radical transformation in the way we tackle the damage inflicted by serious, organised and complex crime on the UK.”

Source: CYPNow Online

Cafcass has recently released figures for the number of care applications they received in July 2013

Cafcass has recently released figures for the number of care applications they received in July 2013 – a total of 870, which is a 13% decrease compared to applications received in July 2012. Between April and July 2013, Cafcass received a total of 3,615 applications, which is 2% more than the number of applications (3,544) received in the same period last year.
Source: Cafcass 08 August 2013

An NSPCC survey of 1,024 11 to 16-year-olds has found that 1 in 5 children using social networking sites suffered a negative experience last year

An NSPCC survey of 1,024 11 to 16-year-olds has found that 1 in 5 children using social networking sites suffered a negative experience last year. This behaviour included bullying, unwanted sexual messages, cyberstalking and feeling pressure to look a certain way. A full report of the survey will be published in November.
Source: BBC Online 11 August 2013

Teenage drinking raises risk of early dementia, study suggests

Teenage drinking raises risk of early dementia, study suggests

Swedish study identifies heavy drinking as a teenager as the most serious of nine risk factors for young onset dementia

Heavy drinking as a teenager is the single biggest risk factor for developing dementia unusually early, according to new research.

A study of almost 500,000 Swedish men identified “alcohol intoxication” as a late adolescent as the most serious of nine separate risk factors for young onset dementia (YOD) – that is, dementia before reaching 65.

Researchers led by Prof Peter Nordstrom, of Sweden’s Umea University, examined the records of 488,484 men conscripted into military service in the country at an average age of 18 between 1969 and 1979, 487 of whom were later diagnosed with YOD at an average age of 54.

About 800,000 people in the UK have dementia, of whom more than 17,000 developed it before they turned 65, according to the Alzheimer’s Society. Two-thirds of sufferers are women and a third are men.

Other “late adolescent risk factors” identified by the researchers included stroke, use of amtopsychotic drugs, depression, father’s dementia, drugs intoxication other than alcohol, low cognitive function at conscription, low height at conscription and high systolic blood pressure at conscription. Together the nine factors accounted for 68% of the 487 YOD cases found at follow-up.

Men with at least two of the nine risk factors, and who fell in the lowest third of the study participants for overall cognitive function, had a 20-fold increased risk of developing YOD, the researchers found.

“We are a long way off knowing exactly why some people develop dementia and others don’t. However, what this study shows once again is that many of the things we are beginning to identify as risk factors are controllable”, said Jess Smith, a research officer at the Alzheimer’s Society. “Kicking excessive teenage drinking or drug habits into touch and treating conditions such as depression early could be key to reducing your risk of dementia in later life.”

Source: Guardian Online

ADHD prescriptions rise sparks ‘smart drug’ fears

ADHD prescriptions rise sparks ‘smart drug’ fears

Concern as GPs in England hand out 657,000 prescriptions for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder – up 56% since 2007

The number of drugs prescribed to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder(ADHD) sufferers has soared by more than 50% in six years, figures show

Prescriptions for methylphenidate drugs, including Ritalin, have been steadily increasing, according to the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) annual report on controlled drugs.

In 2007, GPs in England wrote 420,000 prescriptions for such medication, but by 2012 the figure had leapt to 657,000 – a rise of 56%.

Officials at the watchdog said health workers should “carefully monitor” the drugs because they have a potential for “diversion or misuse”.

The drugs are one of a number linked to the “smart-drug” craze – in which students take medication to fight fatigue and help them concentrate. Previous research has indicated that as many as one in 10 UK students could be taking “cognitive-enhancing” drugs.

Methylphenidate is known as a psychostimulant and is thought to stimulate a part of the brain that changes mental and behavioural reactions.

The CQC report says the number of prescriptions for such medications rose by 11% between 2011 and 2012.

“As in previous years, we believe that this reflects increased diagnosis of, and prescribing for, the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD),” the CQC report states.

“We are also aware of the possibility that methylphenidate could be diverted and abused, and for this reason we recommend that its use should be monitored carefully.

“We are aware of reports in the media and scientific literature that it is being abused as a ‘smart’ drug to improve cognitive function; the long-term risks of this practice are not known.”

Common symptoms of ADHD include inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness. Symptoms tend to be first noticed at an early age – it is normally diagnosed between the ages of three and seven.

It is estimated the condition affects 2% to 5% of school-aged children and young people. However, it can be a lifelong condition and many children continue to show symptoms as a teenager and adult.

Source: Guardian Online

Social care representative bodies set to merge

Social care representative bodies set to merge

The two largest social care provider representative bodies, English Community Care Association (ECCA) and National Care Association (NCA), intend to merge.


The merger will create a new body called Care England from 1st January 2014.

The two chief executives, Sheila Scott and Professor Martin Green, said: “We welcome the opportunity to bring the wealth of experience of these two organisations under one banner, and to work together to make Care England strong and vibrant as well as a one-stop-shop for providers, to support them in delivering a quality service.

“Additionally, for the first time, we will be able to demonstrate the strength of the united purpose which has brought us together and both of us welcome the opportunity to work with as many providers as possible to deliver a representative body which will be a powerful influence in health & social care through the 21st Century.”

Care England hopes that through this merger many more local, regional and national groups will engage and strengthen voice of the sector.

Responding to the development, Scie chair, Lord Michael Bichard said: “We look forward to continuing our excellent working relationship with the new body to ensure that SCIE’s products and services are relevant and responsive to the needs of the sector.”

Source: Social Care Worker

Drink-driving death rate 25% higher than 2011

Drink-driving death rate 25% higher than 2011

Department for Transport estimates 290 people were killed in drink-drive accidents in Britain in 2012

The number of deaths in drink-drive accidents soared last year, according to provisional government figures.

An estimated 290 people were killed in such accidents in Britain in 2012 – around 25% more than the figure of 230 in 2011, the Department for Transport said.

The 2012 figures were made worse by the fact that the 2011 total was the lowest since records began in 1979.

The 2012 figures showed that the 290 deaths represented 17% of all reported road deaths.

There were 250 drink-drive accidents resulting in deaths in 2012, compared with 220 in 2011. Overall, the number of accidents involving drink-driving last year was 6,680 – fractionally down on the 2011 figure of 6,690.

The DfT figures also showed that those seriously injured in drink-drive accidents totalled 1,210 in 2012 – down from the total of 1,270 in 2011.

Slight injuries in drink-drive accidents totalled 8,500 last year – slightly up on the 8,420 figure in 2011.

Among those killed in drink-drive accidents, the majority (68%) were drivers and passengers over the legal alcohol limit. The remaining 32% were other road users involved in the accident but not necessarily over the legal limit themselves.

Although the death toll from last year rose significantly, the annual figure has come down considerably since the late 1970s and 1980s when figures of more than 1,400 deaths a year were recorded.

The annual death figure hovered around the 530 – 580 mark in the first years of the 21st century before dipping sharply from 2007 – 2011.

Source: Guardian Online

Inspectors find high levels of violence at youth jail

Inspectors find high levels of violence at youth jail

A young offender institution has been criticised by inspectors over high levels of violence and the use of segregation.

An inspection of Warren Hill YOI, a facility for 15- to 18-year-old boys in Suffolk, concluded that, overall, improvements following riots at the establishment in 2011 had been sustained. But they found that the number of violent incidents was very high and some were very serious. During the six months before the inspection, which took place in March, there had been 137 assaults on young people, 48 assaults on staff and 112 fights between young people. Most injuries were minor, but five young people and one member of staff had required hospital treatment for broken bones, unconsciousness and multiple injuries, including black eyes, stab wounds and grazes. There were also 94 recorded incidents of bullying. Inspectors also judged the segregation unit to be “a very poor facility”, which held some young people for extended periods. Meanwhile, although there were sufficient activity places for all young people, about a fifth were still on the units during the working day. Inspectors said more needed to be done to monitor attendance and improve behaviour in classrooms. Nick Hardwick, chief inspector of prisons, said: “The high level of violent incidents remains a significant concern and more needs to be done to reduce it.” Despite the criticism, inspectors praised a number of aspects of the establishment. Staff were found to manage and relate to young people confidently and work was in place to promote diversity. Most young people were engaged with some form of education or training, and the curriculum had improved, providing a good range of programmes in education and vocational training. “Warren Hill is very well led by a governor and management team who understand young people and their needs,” Hardwick said. “The institution is a respectful place that is equipping young people with skills and working well to prepare them for the future.” Michael Spurr, chief executive of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), said the governor and staff at Warren Hill were “working hard with a very complex and challenging population”. “We are not complacent about safety and will continue to work with our partners to manage and reduce the number of violent incidents and to provide opportunities for reform and rehabilitation,” he said. “The sustained improvements achieved at Warren Hill – particularly in education, resettlement and in tackling offender behaviour – are a tribute to the hard work of the governor, all her staff and our partners.”

Source: CYPNow

Academic urges flexible schooling for summer-born children

Academic urges flexible schooling for summer-born children

Schools should allow summer-born or pre-term children to delay their education at the stage most suitable for them, an education expert has said.

Professor Barry Carpenter, co-founder for the National Forum for Neuroscience in Special Education, said children who are younger than the average school admissions age should be allowed to break their education at any stage – not necessarily when they enter reception class.

His comments follow the Department for Education’s publication of advice for local authorities, schools and parents on the admission of summer born children, which states that schools can decide when to admit children.

The document states: “School admission authorities are required to provide for the admission of all children in the September following their fourth birthday, but flexibilities exist for children whose parents do not feel they are ready to begin school at this point.

“There is no statutory barrier to children being admitted outside their normal year group.”

Carpenter welcomed the advice but urged schools to allow parents to hold children back at later stages in their education if they felt their child needed more time to mature.

“It’s not just about the cognitive and the academic development, it’s also about the social and emotional development,” said Carpenter.

“The DfE’s advice is best applied at some stage during Key Stage 1. However, some children may go into reception and seem to be ok, but when they move up to year 1 the academic pressures become greater.

“Knowing that some sort of formal testing is on its way in year 2, parents may wish to keep the child back so they can mature.

“I wouldn’t want a blanket rule – it’s about consolidating the correct academic skills in Key Stage 1,” he added.

The DfE advice states that school admissions authorities are responsible for taking decisions related to delaying education.

While it does not include guidance on breaking education once a child has started school, it does confirm it is unlawful for an admissions code to include a blanket policy that says summer-born children who delay starting school to the September after their fifth birthday will automatically be admitted to year 1.

Charity Bliss backed the advice after working with families who had been denied the option of delaying their child’s education.

In one example, a local education authority told the parent of a prematurely born child that if he did not enter school when they wanted him to, he would lose his pre-school place and have to enter directly into year 1 when he did start.

Bliss’s campaigns and policy manager Rebecca Rennison said: “We are very pleased this advice has been published to clarify the current position. It will give both parents and admission authorities much-needed guidance around this important choice for a child.“

In March, a study from the Institute of Education found the youngest children in a school year were far more likely to be considered to have low ability compared to autumn-born pupils.

Source: CYPNow