Safeguarding our students Equality and Diversity Conference 'Diversity is what we have in common' Friday, 11th November 2011 University of Huddersfield Jim Reid Senior Lecturer
Safeguarding children and young people (0-18) Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults
The problem of ‘child abuse’ and what to do about it has been the dominating issue in child welfare policy and practice since the early 1970’s and has had a major impact upon the public image and priorities of social workers. ‘Child abuse’ Public Inquiries have played a major role in influencing public policy
After May 1997 policies for children lay at the heart of the New Labour project to refashion the welfare state. Because it put a particular emphasis upon: Tackling ‘social exclusion’ Improving ‘social investment’ – ‘Education, Education, Education’ Intervening in problems at an early stage so that they do not become chronic ‘Child Protection’ became ‘Safeguarding’ (and ‘promoting the welfare of the child’)
Legislation and guidance • S175 (3) Education Act 2002 • The governing body of an institution within the further education sector shall make arrangements for ensuring that their functions relating to the conduct of the institution are exercised with a view to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children receiving education or training at the institution • Working Together to Safeguard Children (2010) • Statutory Guidance
The death of Baby Peter caused an intense political and media reaction which engendered very high anxiety amongst government ministers and officials and had a profound impact on safeguarding practice. All this was happening at the same time as the UK economy was experiencing the biggest economic downturn since the early 1930s – with increased unemployment, homelessness and public and personal debt
A coalition government in a hurry – huge changes since May 2010 Major reforms and new legislation in: • Health • Schools and Education • The Welfare Bill – Universal Credit and reduction of £18bn in budget • Protection of Freedoms Bill • Reduction in Prison Places with a greater emphasis on rehabilitation and control in the community (??) • Open Public services White Paper - commissioning services out and ‘payment by results’
Survey of Director’s of Children’s Services (Response Rate: 25 Directors; CYP Now 25/1/11) 13% Average Cut to children’s services budgets in 2011/12 – ranging from 6% - 25% Services Hardest Hit Youth services 56% Early years and Children’s Centres 44% Connexions 40% School improvement 40% Back office functions 24% Vol. and Com. Sector 12% Education Welfare 8% Educational Psychology 8% Play 8% Transport 8%
Brewer, M, Browne, J and Joyce, R (2011) Child and Working-age Poverty from 2010-2020. London: Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS Website) ‘The net direct effect of the Coalition government’s tax and benefit changes is to increase both absolute and relative poverty to the highest levels since 2001/2’ Action for Children (2011) The Red Book: Impact of Government spending decisions on children, young people and families 2010/11. London: Action for Children (AfC Website). Research on its services around the UK which showed that since the Comprehensive Spending Review in October 2010: ‘Our findings show that while there are more children in need of support, cuts to the budget of vital services mean that increasingly this need cannot be met.’ p.10
Gill C, La Ville I and Brady ML (2011) The Ripple Effect: The nature and impact of the children and young people’s voluntary sector. London: National Children’s Bureau (NCB Website) ‘Perceived implications of cuts to funding were far reaching. Shrinkage in voluntary and community sector provision will most immediately impact on the children, young people and families that use them. Further down the line though, it is expected that statutory agencies will experience higher demand and more ‘crisis’ work as the additional capacity provided by the sector declines’.
Some issues of concern: ECM not mentioned in any government pronouncements and ECM website removed More targeted services for the most ‘vulnerable’ families – (‘cycle of deprivation’) – not Every Child Matters Focus on child protection C&YP’s Plans and Children’s Trusts de-regulated CWDC funding withdrawn National Safeguarding Delivery Unit disbanded June 2010 Increases in inequality, social divisions and areas of high deprivation Duty to co-operate’ in promoting pupil ‘well-being’ for schools to be repealed
Prevalence 11-17 year olds • Around one in five children (18.6%) have been severely maltreated. • More than one in eight children (13.4%) have experienced severe maltreatment by a parent or guardian. • One in 14 children (6.9%) have experienced severe physical violence at the hands of an adult. • One in 20 children (4.8%) have experienced contact sexual abuse. • One in 10 children (9.8%) have experienced severe neglect. Radford, Lorraine et al (2011) Child abuse and neglect in the UK today . Leicester: NSPCC.
18-24 year olds • One in four young adults (25.3%) had been severely maltreated during childhood. • One in seven young adults (14.5%) had been severely maltreated by a parent or guardian during childhood. • One in nine young adults (11.5%) had experienced severe physical violence during childhood at the hands of an adult. • One in nine young adults (11.3%) had experienced contact sexual abuse during childhood. • Almost one in 10 young adults (9%) had been severely neglected by parents or guardians during childhood.
Domestic violence • 29% of women and 18% of men aged 16 to 59 reported that they had experienced one or more types of abuse (non-sexual abuse such as use of physical force, being prevented from having money or seeing friends or being belittled, sexual assault and stalking) at the hands of a current or former partner at some time since age 16. • One in five women (19%) and one in ten men (10%) reported that they had experienced physical force by a partner or former partner at some time since age 16. Coleman, K. et al. (2007) ’Homicides, firearm offences and intimate violence 2005/2006: supplementary volume 1 to Crime in England and Wales 2005/2006’ (PDF). London: Home Office. Research, Development and Statistics Directorate.
Statement of Government policy on adult safeguarding DH 16 May 2011 • The Government’s policy objective is to prevent and reduce the risk of significant harm to vulnerable adults from abuse or other types of exploitation, whilst supporting individuals in maintaining control over their lives and in making informed choices without coercion. • The Government believes that safeguarding is everybody’s business … • Empowerment - Presumption of person led decisions and informed consent. • Protection - Support and representation for those in greatest need. • Prevention - It is better to take action before harm occurs. • Proportionality – Proportionate and least intrusive response appropriate to the risk presented. • Partnership - Local solutions through services working with their communities. Communities have a part to play in preventing, detecting and reporting neglect and abuse. • Accountability - Accountability and transparency in delivering safeguarding.
Safeguarding vulnerable adults increasing concern about mental disorder in students including in; • Schizophrenia, • Depression, • bi-polar disorder, • eating disorders, • autism spectrum disorders, • alcohol and drug misuse. • the impact of childhood trauma • the isolation of international students. The Royal College of Psychiatrists (2011) ‘Mental Health of Students in Higher Education’. London:RCP
The report concludes that; ‘sociodemographic factors associated with symptoms include gender, social class, ethnicity and nationality’ (p32) which is particularly relevant in a widening participation institution. It goes on to say; ‘in view of the increasing social and cultural diversity of UK students, it is possible that there will be a rise in symptom reporting and diagnosable conditions’ (p.32).
Equality Act 2010 The 2010 Act changed the definition of disability very slightly to: A person has a disability if – • He has a physical or mental impairment, and • the impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities’. (Part 6) ‘Substantial disadvantage’ is defined as ‘more than minor or trivial’ Children Act 1989 S17 (11) a child is disabled if he is blind, deaf or dumb or suffers from mental disorder of any kind or is substantially and permanently handicapped by illness, injury or congenital deformity or such other disability as may be prescribed
The QAA in the Code of Practice for the Assurance of Academic Quality and Standards in Higher Education (2010), Section 3 (Disabled Students), recognises that students with disabilities are an integral part of the academic community with a general entitlement to the provision of education in a manner that meets their individual requirements. Abuse is not an event but a process!
With thanks to Professor Nigel Parton: Parton, N (2011) The increasing length and complexity of central government guidance about child abuse in England: 1974-2010. Discussion Paper. University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield. (Unpublished) Parton, N. (2011) Critical Reflections on Recent Developments in Child Protection. Presentation. University of Huddersfield: Huddersfield. (Unpublished)