Child welfare stories that should be right on your radar:
A new campaign launched by the UK’s counter-terrorism police is urging children not to stop and take photos or video footage whilst being caught up in terror incidents. The call comes after the Parsons Green attack where individuals stopped to take photos of the partially exploded bomb at the scene.
The campaign, which is using the slogan, “Run, hide and tell” is the first of its kind. Police are also hoping that key messages within the campaign will be taught as part of the national curriculum at schools across the country.
The police are very keen to reach children as several terror attacks in the UK have specifically targeted them, like the Manchester Arena bombing and recent incidents in London.
Research suggests that when young people are at the scene of a terror attack, they feel it’s a good idea to film or capture the incident in order to help the police. An incredibly brave and thoughtful instinct, children today are more mindful and committed to the greater good than ever, but their mindset sometimes places them at risk. The campaign aims to remind children to put their safety first.
A Run, Hide and Tell emoji has been created for the campaign, which aims to target 11-16 year olds, as part of the “citizenship” portion of the national curriculum. There is also a video which features celebrities and people from the Royal Marines and the martial arts telling young people what they would do if they were caught up in a terror attack.
The latest child welfare items:
- Review into ‘painstakingly slow, prohibitively expensive’ family law system announced (Australia)
- Families Need Fathers host Parental Alienation Workshop with Cafcass, and NSPCC
- Pope’s sex abuse advisers also look into children of priests (Italy)
Many thanks to Nicky for sharing the second item with us.
A ground breaking piece of research has been published which offers ways to tackle global childhood violence. It is one of the most thorough analyses of childhood violence to date, and features an index to measure childhood violence around the world, which is the first of its kind.
The report, called “Ending violence in childhood: a global imperative” was published in March of this year and offers the idea that removing violence in childhood is the single most powerful way to build peaceful, thriving societies.
A very good summary and comment on the research have been prepared by The Global Partnership To End Violence:
New Expert Report Uncovers the Massive Global Burden of Childhood Violence, A Major Obstacle to Sustainable Human Development in Countries Rich and Poor
Violence in childhood is ubiquitous, but not inevitable. Nearly 3 out of 4 children worldwide experience violence, but proven strategies exist which can keep children safe.
Ending Violence in childhood is the world’s largest investment opportunity to enhance children’s capabilities and build peaceful societies.
September 26, 2017 (New Delhi) – Violence in childhood is a preventable but nearly universal phenomenon that affects 1.7 billion children, nearly 3 out of 4 worldwide, each year, with catastrophic but often hidden impacts on individuals, communities and societies. It affects children in every country, rich and poor, north and south.
Ending violence in childhood and freeing children from fear is the world’s single largest investment opportunity to enhance children’s capabilities and build peaceful societies. The annual financial costs of physical, sexual and psychological violence against children are estimated to range between 2 and 5 percent of global GDP, or about US $7 trillion.
Violence in childhood is also inextricably linked with violence against women. Children who witness the abuse of their mothers are more likely to become victims or perpetrators of abuse when they grow up.
These are among the key findings of the new Global Report 2017 Ending Violence in Childhood, issued today by the international learning collaborative Know Violence in Childhood: A Global Learning Initiative (or Know Violence). The report is one of the most comprehensive analyses of childhood violence ever undertaken, an almost three year long effort documenting the scale of violence experienced by millions of the world’s children. The new report highlights both the enormous scale of this global crisis, and the integrated prevention strategies that can end childhood violence, thereby unlocking opportunities for economic progress, enhanced human development, and expanded freedoms.
“From severe physical punishment to sexual abuse to homicide, childhood violence damages individuals, families and communities in both rich countries and poor, with a cost in the trillions of dollars a year,” said Know Violence Global Co-Chair A.K. Shiva Kumar. “But violence in childhood is not inevitable. Political leaders must help us implement what we already know works and break the silence around this critical issue.”
Childhood violence includes a broad range of experiences, from corporal punishment to physical, sexual and emotional abuse, to the effect of witnessing violence against others. Beyond the immediate physical damage it causes, exposure to violence can traumatize children, harm school performance, lead to depression and other illnesses, and increase the chances that young people will become the victims or perpetrators of violence in the future.
“Growing up free from violence is a fundamental human right, and ensuring safe childhoods is a key component of sustainable human development,” said Baroness Vivien Stern, Know Violence Global Co-Chair. “The UN Sustainable Development Goals will require all governments to strengthen their data gathering systems on violence. Know Violence has synthesized the best evidence from thousands of sources worldwide on how to make these global goals a reality.”
Over the course of Know Violence’s work, the research team uncovered significant gaps in the availably of nationally representative data on key indicators of violence against women and children.
According to Know Violence Steering Group Chair and President of the China Medical Board Dr. Lincoln Chen, “The Know Violence Learning Initiative has made a significant contribution by compiling what we know, but also identifying what we do not know.”
Dr. Chen continued, “This is particularly true with violence against boys, with data on physical violence only available for six countries, and sexual violence for only four countries. Surely we can find the will and resources to ensure that we understand the extent to which our children are impacted by violence and how to stop it.”
In an effort to better track and compare available data, the Know Violence report also presents a unique new matrix, the global Violence in Childhood (VIC) Index. This new tool enables comparisons to be made between countries and regions of the world.
The report is informed by input from 44 research papers exploring the causes and impact of, and responses to, childhood violence, that were commissioned from over one hundred authors. These papers drew on over 3,100 articles, books, and reports, including over 170 systematic reviews of evidence on preventing childhood violence. Know Violence also organized a series of regional meetings around the world in order to directly engage with researchers, practitioners, and policy makers.
While the challenges in ending violence in childhood are significant, solutions exist and the opportunities are substantial.
Governments everywhere need to adopt prevention approaches to end violence and stop treating violence in childhood as a series of bad incidents.
Solutions should enhance the individual capacities of parents, caregivers, and children to deal with anger and frustration, also to report violence.
Violence-prevention must be embedded in institutions – such as schools, health, and social services facilities – so that children are in violence-free spaces as they grow up.
Eliminating the root causes of violence – arising from power differences, inequality, and patriarchy – can support the building of more peaceful communities.
Ending Violence in Childhood calls for political leaders and policy-makers to advance proven programs to end violence in childhood.
Break the silence around violence, encourage discussion of this widespread social problem, and foster movements that can bring about long-lasting change.
Strengthen violence-prevention systems and improve knowledge and regular evidence gathering and reporting.
Integrate violence-prevention into health, education, and social policies, and make sure violence-prevention is a core dimension of policy reform.
Track progress towards ending violence by putting in place appropriate monitoring and tracking systems.
Unite the movements combatting violence against women and ending violence against children, by uncovering and focusing on the links between these two pervasive threats.
About Know Violence in Childhood
Launched in New Delhi in November 2014, Know Violence in Childhood is an international learning initiative dedicated to informing and supporting a global movement to end violence in childhood. Know Violence has analyzed existing data, commissioned new research and synthesized knowledge on the causes and consequences of violence against children worldwide. The work highlights the impact of childhood violence on individuals, families, communities and societies, expands the research base on this global crisis, and promotes evidence-based strategies to help keep children safe.
Know Violence is comprised of a diverse, multi-sectoral group of 100 leading researchers and experts. The initiative operates under the leadership of Steering Committee President Lincoln Chen (President, China Medical Board) and of Global Co-Chairs AK Shiva Kumar (economist and policy adviser) and Vivien Stern (UK House of Lords). Partners include the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), the University of Delaware, and FXB. Know Violence supporters include an anonymous donor, American Jewish World Service, the Bernard van Leer Foundation, the IKEA Foundation, the NOVO Foundation, OAK Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the UBS Foundation and UNICEF. Associates of Know Violence include the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children, Save the Children International, Together for Girls, World Childhood Foundation and Twitter.
David Clarke: (o) +1 646 214 0514; firstname.lastname@example.org
Cathy Bartley (o) +44 208694 9138; (m) +44 795856 1671; email@example.com
The BBC very kindly interviewed Researching Reform this morning about the way children are viewed inside the Family Courts.
Having discovered our Freedom Of Information request asking the government what had happened to a policy allowing children to speak to judges, the BBC wanted to find out what the government’s response was, and the reasons behind what has become a movement to amplify the Voice of the Child inside the family courts.
We offered the BBC a summary of how the Voice of the Child as a policy measure has evolved over the last eight years, why it is so important for judges to speak and engage with children and the phenomenal benefits of a ‘no cost’ policy which would ultimately make the Family Court much more efficient.
We’ll share the piece with you once it’s published.
If you’d like a quick look at the policy and how it developed, including information on the FOI request we made, you can find out more in our article for Lexis Nexis here.
Welcome to another week.
As child protection and child welfare stories continue to dominate the headlines, we thought that instead of raising an issue this week, we would ask a very simple question.
Our question this week then, is just this: what’s on YOUR mind in relation to child welfare?
The government has started to rethink the way it addresses domestic violence within families, with a focus on how it affects children and the way in which perpetrators are dealt with.
Child protection professionals are being urged to put preventative measures in place, so that violent partners cannot go on to new families and engage in a cycle of domestic abuse. The current policies in place which work to separate families from their abuser do not prevent that abuser from moving on to different families and engaging in domestic violence with new family members.
There are several pieces of legislation which have been brought in to address childhood experiences of domestic violence:
Under the Serious Crime Act 2015 (section 76), a new offence of ‘controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate family relationship’ came into force in December 2015. This provision tells us that:
‘Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to: psychological; physical; sexual; financial; and emotional.’
There is also the Adoption and Children Act 2002 (section 120), which extended the definition of ‘harm’ as defined under the Children Act 1989 to include:
‘..impairment suffered from seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another.’
A joint report published on 19th September, by Ofsted, the Care Quality Commission, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services and HM Inspectorate of Probation in Wales entitled “The multi-agency response to children living with domestic abuse – Prevent, protect and repair”, highlighted a number of failings and calls the widespread prevalence of domestic violence a public health issue.
Amongst the concerns raised by the report, the most significant related to how professionals were going about preventing domestic abuse and finding ways to repair the damage it causes. It found that very little was being done to address these areas, that the amount of research and guidance on tackling these issues was minimal and that more work needed to be done to create and implement effective prevention strategies.
Just as importantly, the report noted that a long term approach to protecting children from domestic violence in the home needed to be established. Current policies which damaged children further were also highlighted. Requiring a child and non violent family member to relocate in order to avoid the perpetrator isolates children from their friends, family and school, and was cited as one such example of further and prolonged damage to children experiencing domestic abuse.
Alarmingly, child protection agencies appear to be routinely ignoring the perpetrator of abuse, placing far too much emphasis on the victim as the solution to the problem. The report does well to highlight the fact that separation can often lead to more violence. We know from research that the first few weeks of separation from a violent partner are often the most high risk – we also know that there is a spike in domestic violence when the non violent partner decides to leave the home.
The report also highlights an ongoing lack of understanding about how domestic violence affects children, which is deeply worrying, with some agencies not even asking about the welfare of children involved, at all.
Information sharing between agencies, one of our big bug bears, continues to be an issue, and low level awareness all round about how abuse affects children prevails, despite the new laws above that have been put into place.
It’s a depressing report.
However, the report is part of a wider picture which is emerging, as government bodies and members of the judiciary try to raise awareness and ensure that children are protected.
Five days before the report was published, The President Of The Family Division Sir James Munby, released a revised Practice Direction which he wrote on 7th September, looking at the impact of domestic violence on children. Practice Direction 12J, which deals with children and partners exposed to domestic violence, was amended to include an expanded definition of domestic abuse, new rules about information contained in court orders, and a call to all judges to familiarise themselves with the Practice Direction amid cries that it just wasn’t being implemented.
This is an extract from a statement Munby published on Family Law last week:
“The new PD12J contains numerous amendments, many of important substance. Here, I highlight only two:
- There is (see para 3) a new and much expanded definition of what is now referred to as ‘domestic abuse’, rather than, as before, ‘domestic violence’.
- There are mandatory requirements (see paras 8, 14, 15, 18, 22, 29) for inclusion of certain specified matters in the court’s order. I appreciate the additional burden that this may impose on judges and court staff, but there is good reason for making these requirements mandatory and they must be complied with.
There have been recurring complaints in Parliament and elsewhere of inadequate compliance with PD12J. I am unable to assess to what extent, if at all, such complaints are justified. However, I urge all judges to familiarise themselves with the new PD12J and to do everything possible to ensure that it is properly complied with on every occasion and without fail by everyone to whom it applies.”
If these developments tell us anything, it is that we need an excellent digital resource which offers up to the minute information and guidance on every area of child protection, in a quick and easily digestible format. Something else we have been campaigning for, for many years. We very much hope the government will consider this idea more robustly now, as it presents an incredible opportunity not only to protect children properly, but to do so at low cost, ongoing.
The latest child welfare stories that should be right on your radar:
- Montenegro bans all forms of corporal punishment
- France: STOP VEO and OVEO launch campaign to stop verbal humiliation of children
- Police ‘may consider working with paedophile hunters‘
- Not enough focus on perpetrators in domestic abuse cases, inspectors say (Full report here)
New research has been published which suggests that the most serious child abuse injuries are caused by men who are not related to the victim. The findings were presented at this year’s American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) national conference.
This latest development turns current thinking about child abuse perpetrators on its head, and has important implications for the way abuse is addressed and prevented in America, Britain and the rest of the world.
Led by research fellow Dr Omar Z. Ahmed, M.D, the investigation involved reviewing the records of children admitted to hospital from 2013 to 2015 to evaluate and treat non-accidental trauma, identifying 225 cases of child abuse.
Dr Ahmed observed:
“Among the 150 children hospitalized after suffering non-accidental trauma during the study period, 68.4 percent were injured by a parent; 14 percent were injured by a step parent, boyfriend or girlfriend; 9.7 percent were injured by a daycare staff member or babysitter; and 4.6 percent were injured by a relative.
By far, parents were more likely to be perpetrators of the confirmed or suspected child abuse. However, children injured by a parent’s partner–a group that was overwhelmingly male–were more likely to be more severely injured, to experience severe head injuries and were more likely to require intubation compared with children who were abused by a parent.”
Dr Ahmed suggests widening the net when looking to create policies to prevent child abuse, by redefining targeted caregiver groups to include babysitters, mothers’ boyfriends and day care staff. He also believes a pre-emptive approach is best, which focuses on educating care givers about their duties and behaviours around children as well as knowing how to manage children when they become challenging.
Omar Z. Ahmed
Welcome to another week.
An article about a BBC documentary looking at what happens to children after they leave care, has suggested that 70% of prostitutes come from the care system.
The debate around prostitution usually focuses on whether or not it should be legalised, from moral, ethical, financial and often legal standpoints. ProCon.Org offers an excellent summary of the perceived advantages and disadvantages to legalisation for what is often referred to as the world’s oldest profession.
Prostitution is legal in England and Wales, as long as the parties involved are consenting adults. Some activities surrounding prostitution, particularly those that could have exploitative qualities like managing a brothel remain illegal, however it is estimated that there are around 60,000-80,000 sex workers in the UK – the majority of them being women. An investigation by the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee in 2016* has also called for more evidence with a view to legalising currently criminal activities surrounding prostitution.
Advocates for the legalisation of prostitution, which include a significant portion of sex workers, feel that decriminalising the activity removes the stigma from a career that is not immoral, creates freedom of choice and protects prostitutes from violence.
Those in favour of criminalising sex work believe that the activity will always carry with it an element of unreasonable duress, is a choice made purely for economic reasons usually related to poverty, encourages human trafficking and no matter what legal protections exist, will not prevent violent incidents like rape.
Advocates could also argue that most jobs are sought out for economic reasons, are morally questionable – especially when working for large corporations – and also may involve acts of violence, like sexual harassment in the workplace.
But what about the original statistic we started the post with – that 70% of prostitutes come from the care system? The implication is that most of those offering sex work have been at one time or still are, vulnerable individuals.
Our question this week, then, is this: do you think the statistic creates a compelling argument to criminalise sex work in England and Wales?
If you would like to watch the BBC documentary, you can do so here (you have 14 days left to view the programme before it is removed from the BBC’s page).
Some thought provoking items on prostitution are added below:
- Lib Dem MP: Schools Should Encourage Children To Consider Prostitution As A Career
- Should prostitution be legal? Let’s try listening to the real experts (2013)
- *House of Commons Report, 2016
- Decriminalising sex work is the only way to protect women – and New Zealand has proved that it works
- If you think decriminalisation will make prostitution safe, look at Germany’s mega brothels
Many thanks to Dana for alerting us to the article.