Here are our top safeguarding stories from June 2020. To access or view the full articles click on the link embedded in the title:
Many schoolchildren will need urgent support from psychologists when the lockdown eases because their lives and education will have been so badly disrupted by school closures, experts have warned. With state schools not expected to open fully until September at the earliest, educational psychologists advising the government say ministers will have to foot a huge bill for professional help for those in urgent need, and that the longer schools remain shut the worse the crisis will become. When churches and youth groups reopen they could see similar problems among their children and young people.
Charities supporting victims of domestic abuse have said they expect an increase in people seeking safety as lockdown eases. It follows a surge in calls to helplines since lockdown began. Charities had warned the lockdown could heighten domestic tensions and cut off escape routes. Chereene Love, who works for Women's Aid in the West Midlands, described refuge services as a "lifeline to people and the difference between life and death". She said most refuges in the country were already full.
The coronavirus lockdown has created a "perfect storm" for many children isolated with their abusers, ex-home secretary Sajid Javid has said. He will lead a new "no holds barred" inquiry into child sex abuse in the United Kingdom with the Centre for Social Justice think tank. The inquiry will examine organised child sexual exploitation and the abuse of children online.
Safeguarding allegations fell by almost a quarter in 2018, the dioceses have reported. The latest figures were submitted by the dioceses to the National Safeguarding Team (NST), which published them at the beginning of June.
Of the allegations in 2018, 1589 related to adults, and 915 to children. The largest single category was sexual abuse (49 per cent for children, 20 per cent for adults). Domestic abuse was the second biggest concern (294 cases overall), followed by physical abuse (205), and emotional/psychological abuse (193). Many cases (755) were not assigned a single category.
The former Archbishop of Canterbury has said he is “bewildered and dismayed” to have had his permission to officiate as a priest withdrawn. Lord Carey is no longer authorised to minister within his diocese, the Church of England said, after new information emerged in relation to a review being carried out into a barrister who was accused of abusing boys. There has been no allegation of abuse made against Lord Carey.
Bishop Christopher Lowson, who was suspended last year, faces allegations he "failed to respond appropriately to safeguarding disclosures". In a statement on the matter, a Church of England spokesperson revealed that "formal proceedings under the Clergy Discipline Measure have been instituted by the national director of safeguarding" in relation to the allegations lodged against Mr Lowson. The church has also sought to clarify that there is no evidence or allegation that the bishop "committed abuse of a child or vulnerable adult."
Krish Kandiah, the founder of Christian foster and adoption charity Home for Good, has said Christians have risen to the challenge facing the fostering system in the United Kingdom. A new study has revealed the number of children needing foster care has risen by 44 per cent during the coronavirus pandemic, creating a "state of emergency". Mr Kandiah said: "We've been so impressed by Christians up and down the country that have been stepping forward at Home for Good.”
A new Netflix documentary asks what it took to bring down Dr Larry Nassar - the USA Gymnastics team doctor who abused hundreds of young women. It also looks into why the abuse continued for more than two decades and whether USA Gymnastics (USAG) covered it up. Jon Shenk, one of the documentary’s directors, said: "The Olympics is a big event in the United States. But, over the years, it became very much about the marketing of the athletes. Unfortunately, many of the organisations, including USA Gymnastics, did not have policies in place to protect the, often very young, athletes."