Magistrates must be recruited from more diverse backgrounds to better reflect communities, campaigners warn

While data relating to age, gender and ethnic diversity of magistrates is collected, information on social backgrounds is not available
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Unpleasant reading for professionals: Misogyny in the family courts – VictimFocus Blog

A blog that highlights not only how women are being labelled but also how reports of child abuse are being used to undermine the credibility of women.

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Diva exposed via WhatsApp as, a self-proclaimed Diva- what does the Employment tribunal think?

If you disclose your personal life to colleagues, join in the banter and embellish your operatic status by calling your a diva (yes, I know what a diva is) – then you might want to think before taking your employer to the Employment Tribunal – all is laid bare! Read the attached judgment if you really need the gossip. Moral: WhatsApp might be secure platform but not in the hands of those you upset!

The ‘gay cure’ experiments that were written out of scientific history | Mosaic

Robert Heath claimed to have cured homosexuality by implanting electrodes into the pleasure centre of the brain. Robert Colvile reports on one of the great forgotten stories of neuroscience.
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Nothing prepares you for being a foster parent during a global pandemic – Metro

@MartinBarrow spotlights a paradox that has arisen in these strange and uncertain times where foster careers, (responsible on behalf of society) for other people’s children, are unable to see their own children or grandchildren. Recipe for future disharmony?
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Hillcrest Children’s Services Limited (a privately owned limited Company is closed by Ofstead.

Following a monitoring visit this privately owned care home was found not be safe. That said, both leaders and managers took urgent action to address the concerns and this means the home is to close temporarily – whilst improvements are made.

At the time of the monitoring visit, two children were living in the home (a maximum of six were permitted).

Inspectors found that the staff do not have the skills and experience to manage children’s behaviour, and incidents escalate because staff do not use effective de- escalation techniques to manage incidents in the home.

Conflict management is not effective and there is no use of restorative practice to improve children’s sense of personal responsibility. As a result, children do not feel safe living in this home, and this is reflected in their escalating behaviour. Sadly, there is more to this report (linked below).

The registered manager has been in post since November 2019 and was only registered with Ofsted on 12 June 2020. The inspection date was 19 August 2020.

Clearlswift action was taken by Ofstead.

Thank you @martinbarrow for bringing our attention to this report.

Become a magistrate – GOV.UK

Magistrates are volunteers who hear cases in courts in their community. They can hear cases in the criminal court, the family court, or both.

Each case is usually heard by 3 magistrates, including a magistrate who is trained to act as a chairperson.

A legal adviser in the court gives advice on the law and makes sure the magistrates follow the right procedures.

An interesting video, arguing that Aristotle was wrong; there are far more than five senses. Does that challenge our thinking on what is acceptable evidence?

Scientists have long known that there’s much more to our experience than the five senses (or ‘outward wits’) described by Aristotle – hearing, sight, smell, touch and taste. Yet the myth of five senses persists, perhaps because a clearer understanding of our sensory experience at the neurological level has only recently started to take shape. In this instalment of Aeon’s In Sight series, the British philosopher Barry C Smith argues that the multisensory view of human experience that’s currently emerging in neuroscience could make philosophising about our senses much more accurate, and richer, allowing philosophers to complement the work of scientists in important ways. But first, philosophy must catch up to the major advances being made in brain science

Link to video: here

This is a guest post from Bob Grieg, Co Chair of Only Mums and Only Dads and co author of 101 Questions Answered About Separating With Children – “The Transparency Project”

A view from the cheap seats | The Transparency Project
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A new Government consultation aims to gather views on various aspects of their plans for regulation and tackling online harms, including: the online services in scope of the regulatory framework; options for appointing an independent regulatory body to implement, oversee and enforce the new regulatory framework; the enforcement powers of an independent regulatory body; potential redress mechanisms for online users; and measures to ensure regulation is targeted and proportionate for industry.

The Online Harms White Paper sets out the government’s plans for a world-leading package of measures to keep UK users safe online.
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Children’s Commissioner for England warns the same mistakes that led to child sexual exploitation are being repeated with gangs | Children’s Commissioner for England

Children’s Commissioner for England warns the same mistakes that led to child sexual exploitation are being repeated with gangs | Children’s Commissioner for England
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Shortage of lay magistrates – become a magistrate – GOV.UK

The House of Commons Justice Committee has blamed government failure for the dramatic fall in magistrate numbers in England and Wales.

The committee says the recent shortfall is “as frustrating as it was foreseeable” and that it has taken a “near crisis” to prompt the government into acting.

In 2016, the committee warned the government that magistrates faced unresolved issues that related to their role, workload and morale, with serious recruitment and training problems being the main factor.

How to volunteer as a magistrate, who can and can’t apply, the application form, and what magistrates do in court
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Excellent and progressive idea in restorative practice: ‘Improving the quality of frontline social work’ | Sutton Social Care | The Guardian

As part of a transformation programme, the London borough of Sutton has introduced a new way of delivering social work. Steering away from box-ticking, the council’s new approach is more personal and effective
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Jessica Easton supporting children and families without traumatic imagery Practitioner resource and guide that is free and accessible collection of ideas and advice for practitioners working in child sexual exploitation (CSE) and abuse.

Official home of VictimFocus and Jessica Eaton. Dedicated to fighting victim blaming of adults and children who have been affected by sexual violence, abuse and trauma. Delivering consultancy, training, psychology of abuse, resources and e-learning for professionals and public all over the world.
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Hikikomori – a term seldom used and uncommon to most people but for some, psychologists are beginning to take more cognisance. “People Who Withdraw From Society For Months Or Years On End”

New Insights Into Hikikomori – People Who Withdraw From Society For Months Or Years On End – Research Digest
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Hopefully something you will not experience but for those who have: Women with learning disabilities living on locked wards– Centre for Disability Research (CeDR)

Accessible Summary: Women with learning disabilities living on locked wards – Centre for Disability Research (CeDR)
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Fascinating update (study) ‘How Attachment Style Changes Through Multiple Decades Of Life.’ Spoiler alert: it is not all down to parents.

“Attachment theory, which was first proposed in the 1950s by the British psychoanalyst John Bowlby, is one of the most influential in psychology. It argues for the importance of our earliest relationships with our caregivers, and predicts that these formative bonds will shape the nature of our connections with other people for the rest of our lives. Remarkably, however, psychologists still know relatively little about how people’s attachment style – essentially their characteristic style of relating to other people – typically varies through life. “How do attachment orientations change across the life span? Unfortunately … this critical question has eluded researchers,” write William Chopik and colleagues in their recently published paper in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
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‘Is it not children who bind not just families but the whole world together’ Kazuo Ishiguro, When we were orphans’.

Call for inquiry into abusive parents’ access to children – BBC News
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Glad to see Metropolitan Police (London at least) are encouraging LGBT+ community to report cases of hate crime to the Police.

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) is supporting the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia & Transphobia (IDAHOBIT).
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Complaining works: The Council considered Mr B deliberately and intentionally deprived himself of assets to avoid paying care charges to local authority. On investigation of a formal complaint by Mrs B, the local authority accepted their response to Mrs B’s complaint contradicts there initial assessment and agreed to write off the outstanding debt.

  1. The Care and Support Guidance 2014 explains how councils should assess a person’s financial contribution. It says:
    • People with care and support needs are free to spend their income and assets as they see fit, including making gifts to family and friends. This is important for promoting their well-being and enabling them to live fulfilling and independent lives. However, it is also important that people pay their fair contribution towards their care and support costs;
    • There are some cases where a person may have tried to deliberately avoid paying for care and support costs through depriving themselves of assets, either capital or income. In such cases, the Council may either charge the person as if they still possessed the asset or, if the asset has been transferred to someone else, seek to recover the lost income from that person;
    • The person must have known they needed care and support. Avoiding charges must have been a significant motivation in the timing of the disposal of the asset. The person must also have expected to have to make contributions towards his or her care charges.

You can read the full details here

Lone parents lose benefits cap challenge at supreme court – a stark reminder the the Courts are a check in the system but Government is in Charge.

Justices reject appeal despite Lord Wilson saying impact of cap was ‘undoubtedly harsh’
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Very useful case that highlights the need to establish what litigation is planned – once you start it is too late. Similarly with statutory complaints into social services



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In modern Britain “vulnerable children being locked up in B&Bs and caravans” this is cruel and inhumane

Vulnerable children are being locked up in B&Bs and caravans as swingeing funding cuts mean local councils are unable to place them in formal care settings, critics have warned. Hundreds of those affected – some as young as 10 – who are at risk of exploitation are becoming “completely invisible”, as they are incarcerated in unregulated accommodation due to a lack of secure
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Free resources to help provide information about the learning disability, autism and social care sectors. They cover a range of topics including transition services, personalisation and understanding the sector.

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The Care Quality Commission (CQC) said inspectors would be reviewing services run by the NHS contractor Cygnet Health Care across the country – and appealed for anyone with concerns to come forward

An investigation has begun into a major care provider after police were called in over alleged psychological and physical abuse of patients with learning disabilities at one of its homes. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) said inspectors would be reviewing these and similar services run by the NHS contractor Cygnet Health Care across the country – and appealed for anyone with
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The child exploitation disruption toolkit is aimed at frontline staff, including law enforcement, social care, education & others, who work to safeguard children and young people under the age of 18 from #CSE & criminal exploitation.

Disruption tactics for those working to safeguard children and young people under the age of 18 from sexual and criminal exploitation.
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“Crumbling Britain: How it feels to give birth behind bars The plight of pregnant women in our overstretched prison system.”

The plight of pregnant women in our overstretched prison system.
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1.7 million fines over dental treatment or prescription charges in England since 2014 that were overturned a NAO investigation says. These were people wrongly accused of fraudulently claiming free treatment. An NHS spokeswoman accepted there could be “confusion” over eligibility rules.

NHS fines for 1.7 million people overturned, watchdog finds – BBC News
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How lonely must a mental health patient feel? What of the impact on families & friends? 3,000 patients being placed over 100km from home for treatment simply beggars belief – a 35% increase since last year.

RSA response to the Timpson Review of School Exclusion – RSA

Having explored this important and growing problem, RSA welcomes many of the recommendations to try and better support children who are excluded from school and children from groups who are more likely to be excluded:

  • children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)
  • children with speech, language and communication difficulties
  • children from disadvantaged backgrounds
  • children who have received support from social care
  • children with a ‘Child in Need’ plan.

Dr Hannah Stringer, Clinical Psychologist and Senior Mental Health Practitioner at Project Future about their work supporting young men in London.

Project Future is a community-based holistic wellbeing and mental health service jointly funded by Big Lottery, Comic Relief, NHS England, Haringey Council and other private funders. It was set up to work with young men aged 16-25 with experiences of the criminal justice system, specifically those exposed to serious youth violence or labelled “gang-affiliated”. It aims to improve young people’s wellbeing, access to services, and education, employment and training opportunities with the long-term aim of reducing marginalisation and offending.

Read more here (published by Justice Innovation


“I’m not bad, rude, hyper or shy, I have Asperger’s. What’s your excuse?”We were bullied out of our home for being different” A tale of real life Britain

BBC News – ‘We were bullied out of our home for being different’

‘Cleansed by cuts’ yet “Keble secondary school, in the pretty hilltop village of Eastcombe, Gloucestershire, has worked hard to make the school inclusive. In the top 30% nationally for student progress and attainment.” Not to be underestimated achievement and very hard to emulate in high density areas.

‘Cleansed by cuts’: schools refuse places to special needs pupils

By the time ‘children reach their fifth birthday, nearly one in five have been referred to social workers.’ Is it a wonder that the State has no idea how to effectively manage the issues?

Any blog that says “The starting question asked  –  what are the drivers to this huge increase in care proceedings?” is a must read in my profession

Not a solution to homelessness but a sensible step forward: Fire station to be converted into first-ever LGBTIQ+ shelter | East London and West Essex Guardian Series

Sad but too common “Darryl Nicholson, 47, has stage three emphysema – a form of chronic obstructive pulmonary – that causes the destruction of the lungs and means he struggles with daily tasks such as shortness of breath, wheezing and fatigue” forced back into work. Based on this article DWP are being extremely unfair.

Inspiring article ‘Jon Adams was aged 52 learnt learned he had Asperger syndrome. He and others explain the impact – The Guardian

Jon Adams was 52 when he learned he had Asperger syndrome. As adult referrals rise, he and others explain the impact – good and bad – of a late diagnosis
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Born of injustice – troubling reporting supported by the BMA – looking at perceived failures in our laws that result in babies being separated from their biological mothers

Junior doctor Carrie Adams had her baby taken away when she was a day old. Now she has won the right to reveal what happened to her.

Now, with the BMA’s help, she has won the right to reveal what happened to her.
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The thousands of children missing out on key support for diagnosed special educational needs in England”, it absolutely is ‘a national scandal.’ Depriving those already disadvantaged of a decent education is tantamount to robbery.

Missing special needs support ‘a national scandal’ – BBC News
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Farcical of DWP to claim a small proportion of appeal decisions are overturned and most employment and support allowance and personal independence payment claimants were happy with their assessments.

Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) meant many private family law cases (including arrangements that can result in one parent not seeing their children at all ) do not qualify for a publicly funded lawyer.

Family Lawyers Are Turning Away Thousands Of People In Child Access Battles Thanks To Legal Aid Cuts
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