Category Archives: Children in Prison

Supreme Court to consider Council role in protecting vulnerable children

The Supreme Court is to hear a landmark case which could have an impact on the rights of thousands of abuse victims.

It concerns two people, known as CN and GN, who allege that, between 2006 and 2011, Poole Borough Council did not do enough to protect them as children from “harassment and worse” from their neighbours.

They claim that before they and their mother were placed in housing, the authority was aware that a “delinquent” family lived nearby who engaged in persistently anti-social behaviour.

This family repeatedly subjected CN and GN to significant harassment and abuse, and CN – who has severe physical and learning difficulties – attempted suicide.

CN and GN brought claims against the council for breach of a common law duty of care derived from statutory duties under the Children Act 1989 but, in 2017, the Court of Appeal ruled against them.

Before the appeal on Monday, Emma Jones from the team at Leigh Day, who represent GN and CN, said: “We hope that the Supreme Court rectify the current ruling by the Court of Appeal which sees the protection of children returned to the ‘washing your hands’ approach to vulnerable children witnessed in the 1990s and which has been attributed to scandals such as occurred in Rotherham.

“Local authorities must be compelled by law to protect children for whom they have responsibility and the best way to ensure that they carry out these duties is for them to be held to account, through the law, if they fall short.”

Article 39, which fights for the rights of children and young people who live in children’s homes, prisons and other institutions, and the Care Leavers’ Association, which supports care leavers of all ages, have been given permission to make representations.

Peter Garsden, of law firm Simpson Millar, which is representing the charities, said: “This appeal raises issues of very great public importance, concerning whether a local authority is responsible for protecting young people and children who may not be in a care institution, but are known to be at risk – either from sexual, physical or emotional abuse.

“It affects some of the most vulnerable members of our society and will have far reaching ramifications, and it is absolutely vital that the law is clarified so that abuse survivors can get the answers and access to justice that they deserve, and that will allow them to start to move forward with their lives.”

HMYOI Cookham Wood: Violence and self-harm have increased at a youth jail

In the year since the last inspection of HMYOI Cookham Wood in September 2016, when a total of 54 recommendations were made (below), 16 had been implemented by the time of this inspection. An Implementation rate of 30%. Safety: 15 recommendations made, 7 implemented. Respect: 20 recommendations made, 4 implemented. Purposeful Activity: 8 recommendations made, 2 implemented.… Continue Reading

Published today: Children in Custody 2015-16: an analysis of 12 to 18-year-olds’ perceptions

Nearly half of boys in young offender institutions have felt unsafe in custody at some point, said Peter Clarke, Chief Inspector of Prisons. Today he published a thematic report on the results of surveys of children in custody. The report, Children in Custody 2015-16: an analysis of 12 to 18-year-olds’ perceptions of their experience in… Continue Reading

Children in Custody: Distance From Home – A Thematic Review.

Placing children in custody miles away from their home affected how many family visits they received, said Peter Clarke, Chief Inspector of Prisons. It didn’t, however, have a significant impact on other experiences of custody and could help some boys keep away from gang influence, he added. Today he published a report, The impact of distance… Continue Reading

Significant changes in backgrounds and needs of Children in Custody says Chief Inspector in new Thematic Review

The number of children in custody has fallen sharply, but the backgrounds and needs of those who remain have become more complex, said Nick Hardwick, Chief Inspector of Prisons. Today he published a thematic report on the results of surveys of children in custody. The report, Children in Custody 2014-15: an analysis of 12-18-year-olds’ perceptions… Continue Reading

Replace child prisons with small units to cut reoffending says new report

Replacing large children’s prisons with smaller units could boost Justice Secretary Michael Gove’s attempts to reduce reoffending rates, a report suggests. Detainees in young offenders’ institutions are more likely to suffer violence and longer periods in isolation, it was claimed. Youngsters can also be locked up in secure training centres and secure children’s homes. The… Continue Reading

May to name new Chair of Child Abuse Inquiry

Theresa May is expected to announce the new chair of the troubled child abuse inquiry following the resignations of two previous holders of the post. The Home Secretary has also been considering the format of the inquiry, which could potentially involve scrapping the existing panel and replacing it with a more powerful body. The new… Continue Reading

HMYOI Werrington – Improvements made but challenges remain say Inspectors

HMYOI Werrington was working more positively with the young people it held, but still had areas to address, said Nick Hardwick, Chief Inspector of Prisons. Today he published the report of an unannounced inspection of the young offender institution near Stoke-on-Trent. HMYOI Werrington holds up to 160 boys under the age of 18. During the… Continue Reading

INQUEST response to the YJB Child Deaths Report

INQUEST response to Youth Justice Board report on deaths of children in custody Deborah Coles, co-director of INQUEST said: “Whilst this report offers some insight into the Board’s learning from child deaths, it can be no substitute for a wider review. “INQUEST’s work on the deaths of children shows the same issues of concern repeat… Continue Reading