Here are our top safeguarding stories from October 2020. To access or view the full articles click on the link embedded in the title:
Aid staff employed by the Government are to be banned from having sexual relationships with victims of humanitarian disasters. Departments are reviewing guidance so that staff will face “gross misconduct” proceedings if they are found to be doing this in countries where the United Kingdom provides aid. Sarah Champion, chair of the International Development Select Committee, said: “To say I was shocked when our inquiry found out Government staff were only discouraged, rather than banned, would be an understatement – I was appalled."
Sky News reported on Britain's biggest child protection unit as they dealt with a wave of post-lockdown referrals. In the weeks after children returned to school following lockdown, Kent's social services saw a sharp rise in calls coming in. BASW England national director Maris Stratulis said: "Our members in regions across the country are telling us they are incredibly busy as stored-up harms from lockdown, including domestic violence, parental substance misuse, mental health issues and sexual harm, are now starting to show through as children return to school."
Independent trustees will hold the National Safeguarding Team of the Church of England to account, the lead bishop on safeguarding, Dr Jonathan Gibbs, has confirmed. In addition, an independent panel will be set up to approve support packages for survivors. Dr Gibbs, who is also the Bishop of Huddersfield, spoke after the House of Bishops unanimously endorsed a motion to accept the investigation report from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse and “unreservedly apologise” to victims and survivors for the harm done by the Church. The House also committed itself to “urgently implementing” the Inquiry’s recommendations.
The Church of England must move forward from the “easy part” of publicly apologising to abuse survivors towards profound change that puts safeguarding and accountability at the centre of its mission, the independent chair of the C of E’s National Safeguarding panel, Meg Munn, has said in her blog.
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse refused to investigate Britain’s most notorious sex-grooming scandals and barred key witnesses from giving evidence, The Times has claimed. Victims and experts blamed the decision not to examine mass offending in Rotherham and Rochdale on a “cowardly” reluctance to look at a pattern of group crimes in which men of Pakistani heritage have been over-represented.
The House of Good report from the National Churches Trust found churches in the United Kingdom provided £12.4 billion worth of essential social and economic support to local communities during the twelve months up until May 2020. The Church of England said its 16,000 churches were running or supporting 35,000 projects before the Covid-19 pandemic, including 8,000 food banks, 4,000 parent-toddler groups, 5,000 lunch clubs or coffee mornings, 2,700 community cafes, 2,400 night shelters and 2,300 breakfast or holiday clubs for children.
Celtic Boys Club has been engulfed by allegations of systematic sexual misconduct over three decades, prompting claims that it represents the largest child abuse scandal in British football. A number of survivors and their families claim that officials at Celtic knew about the sexual abuse and did nothing. Celtic Football Club has said that while it shares "historic contacts" with the boys' club, the two are separate organisations.