News roundup: June 2019

30 June 2019, Thirtyone:eight

Here are our top safeguarding stories from June 2019.  To access or view the full articles click on the link embedded in the title:

>> Interview with UCB Radio following the death of former Bishop Peter Ball

>> Church reveals safeguarding reports grow by a half in two years

Statistics released in the Diocesan Self-Assessment Key Safeguarding Data show the number of safeguarding concerns or allegations reported to dioceses increased by half between 2015 and 2017, to 3287. The largest increase — 78 per cent — related to reports concerning adults at risk of abuse or neglect, 35 per cent of which concerned sexual abuse in 2017. Those concerning children and young adults fell slightly in 2017 to 1257; more than half concerned sexual abuse.

>> IICSA digs deeper into Anglican Church and announces new BME project

The timetable for the final hearing of the IICSA’s Anglican investigation, concerning the C of E and the Church in Wales, was published on Thursday. The Archbishop of Wales, the Most Revd John Davies, and four Church of England bishops are among the witnesses due to give evidence. The two-week hearing will cover a broad range of topics including the Clergy Discipline Measure (CDM), Permission to Officiate (PTO), the Seal of the Confessional, responses to adult survivors, redress, auditing, and record-keeping. The Inquiry also announced that it will be launching a research project into child sexual abuse in black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities.

>> Victims of 'revenge porn' could get anonymity under government review

Victims of so-called revenge porn could be granted the same anonymity as rape or sexual abuse victims.  Currently revenge porn - the sharing of non-consensual explicit images without the subject's permission, is covered by communications legislation. Now the government has asked the independent legal reform watchdog, the Law Commission, to examine existing legislation to ensure it is keeping pace with advancements in technology. Justice Minister Paul Maynard said: "No one should have to suffer the immense distress of having intimate images taken or shared without consent."

>> Bank introduces untraceable sort code to protect abuse victims

HSBC has become the first big bank to implement measures to identify and help victims of financial abuse. The bank will allow victims to close joint bank accounts without their abuser’s permission. Normally, both parties have to agree for the account to be closed. Victims will also be able to open new accounts without a sort code that is traceable to a particular bank branch, so their location cannot be identified on their bank card or account details.

>> UK age-verification system for porn delayed by up to six months

The UK’s age-verification system for online pornography will be delayed for around six months because the government failed to inform the EU of its proposals, the culture secretary has said.  The already delayed policy, which will require all adult internet users wanting to watch legal pornography to prove they are over 18 by providing some form of identification, was due to come into force on 15 July. Culture secretary, Jeremy Wright emphasised that the delay did not mean the government was backing down from its policy. “Age verification needs to happen, and in the interest of the needs of children, it must.”

>> Diabetes a 'safeguarding issue' serious case review finds

Workers should be required to consider diabetes in children and young people as a safeguarding risk, a serious case review by East Sussex's Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) into the death of a diabetic teenager has recommended. The findings could impact thousands of children - there are about 35,000 children and young people under the age of 19 with diabetes in the UK, of which 96 per cent have type 1.

>> New book launched seeking to address issues of 'Spiritual Abuse'

June saw the launch of a new book ‘Escaping the Maze of Spiritual Abuse: Creating healthy Christian cultures’ published by SPCK and written by Dr Lisa Oakley and Justin Humphreys.  The book was launched at an event at the House of Lords.  Speaking at the event Justin said “The first half of the book opens-up discussion about a previously well-hidden and little-understood experience. But we were equally keen to not only develop understanding of this form of abuse, but also to explore what kind of practices, cultures and environments would need to exist to counter this type of harm.  The second half of the book does just that.” More information about the book and where to order can be found here.