Teachers and Doctors Could Be Barred For Failing to Report Female Genital Mutilation

Researching Reform

Under new proposals by the Home Office which have been published today in a consultation paper, the government is looking at the possibility of barring teachers and doctors who fail to report Female Genital Mutilation.

As teachers will not be in a position to visually confirm FGM, a potential duty on this group might be limited to victim disclosure, the paper tells us. Doctors would have a duty around disclosure but also observation. These are some of the issues the paper hopes to navigate and clarify with the feedback they hope to get on this proposal.

The consultation will run for five weeks, is fully open to the public and also hopes to hear from:

  • health care professionals,
  • the police,
  • the judiciary,
  • teachers,
  • social workers,
  • criminal justice practitioners,
  • victims of FGM,
  • organisations representing victims,
  • community groups and leaders,
  • front line workers,
  • service providers,
  • regulatory bodies,
  • the Disclosure and
  • Barring Service…

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Claridge’s: Falling Into The Booby Trap

Researching Reform

Hot off the heels of a story about a mother who was asked to cover herself with a large napkin whilst breastfeeding in Claridge’s comes a staged protest outside the establishment which saw around 25 mothers breastfeeding their children in front of the luxury hotel, yesterday.

The gripe, or gripe water, was simply this: women should not take their tits out in public. Or at least, that was Claridge’s breast efforts at explaining the hooha. What transpired though, was a rather less savoury turn of events.

The mother who sparked the protest, quietly eating her lunch at the hotel and nourishing her baby at the same time, was clearly well covered. What you notice from her Twitter timeline, where she posted a photo of herself feeding her baby, is that you cannot see any nipple, or flesh.

Now, when we first heard the story, we thought, fair enough. The hotel is…

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Serial – The Podcast Series Taking The Internet By Storm

Researching Reform

Serial is a series of podcasts which features one non fiction story a week, and was produced by the people who brought you This American Life.

The audio series’ first story explores the disappearance of a teenage girl in America in the 1990’s and the subsequent arrest, charge and imprisonment of her boyfriend who maintained throughout that he was innocent.

We first heard about Serial last night when a friend told us about it; they also explained that the production was quietly taking the internet by storm, with hoards of people hooked on it already, so given that it was child welfare related we felt we had to check it out, too. That, and the fact that it also raises interesting ethical questions about the nature of entertainment in the 21st century.

Although we haven’t listened to the first episode yet, shunning our burning curiosity for the time being…

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Question It!

Researching Reform

Welcome to another week of thoughts and views, and this time, our question stems around the latest row involving the Independent Panel Inquiry into Child Abuse.

It has emerged that two of the panel members have now been asked to resign, following what has been perceived to be threatening communications from them to specific survivors of child abuse.

The two panel members are Barbara Hearn and Graham Wilmer, a survivor of child abuse himself. It has been alleged that Barbara’s involvement with the National Children’s Bureau, where a leading member of the Paedophile Information Exchange, Peter Righton, worked as a consultant between 1972 and 1974 creates a conflict of interest. Mr Wilmer’s email communications with a survivor are also being examined to see whether or not they are threatening.

Whatever one may think of the conflicts involved or the direct communication between panel members and survivors of abuse, it…

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Child Abuse Inquiry Panel Meeting With Survivors

Researching Reform

Chris Tuck, a survivor and representative from a group called Survivors of Abuse has very diligently made notes of the meeting that took place last week between members of the Inquiry and several survivors.

Amongst those listed as present were John O’Brien, Director of Safeguarding at the Home Office; Liz Sanderson, Theresa May’s media spin doctor; at least three Inquiry’s panel members and 10 Survivors/Survivor Organisations which included SOB, NAPAC, Rape Crisis, Survivors Alliance and representation from Scotland & Wales.

The three key points raised by survivors at the meeting were that:

  • The inquiry must be statutory & independent
  • The need for transparency around the panel
  • The TOR needs to be expanded geographically and start from at least the 1950’s

O’Brien told the attendees that the first thing that needed to sorted out was getting the Chair in place and that he hoped this could move forward with more haste after a meeting taking…

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Munby Calls McKenzie Friends “A Problem”

Researching Reform

President of the Family Division, James Munby delivered a speech at Families Need Fathers’ AGM last month, in which he referred to McKenzie Friends as a ‘problem’. He does back track and go on to praise lay advisors, but his choice of words given the delicate aspects involved is pretty poor.

This is what he says:

“A big problem in the family courts are, of course – I shouldn’t use the word problem … that gives completely the wrong impression. Another big issue is McKenzie Friends.”

But he does use the word problem. And it belies how he views lay advisors, whether informed by personal experience or prejudice. It’s also clear that he hasn’t read the latest reports on legal aid and McKenzie friends, which suggest that lay advisors are not hindering the process in any way.

The questions asked during the AGM are interesting, and the speech itself, though really…

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