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Allegations rise after Savile case
SINCE the historic crimes of Jimmy Savile came to light there has been a surge in allegations of abuse being made against staff and volunteers in Swindon.
Swindon Local Safeguarding Children Board’s (SLSCB) annual report has revealed that more than 100 accusations of staff abusing children have been made this year.
In 2006 an allegations management procedure was set up by SLSCB, which saw a year on year increase in the number of allegations referred to the local authority until 2010, when the numbers fell.
But from April 2012 the figure has been on the rise again, with a total of 118 being received throughout 2012/13. The first revelations about the Jim’ll Fix It star were reported in September 2012.
The report also highlights that some key organisations that work with children are under-represented in referrals.
The vulnerable sectors include faith groups or voluntary organisations, which could be seen as soft targets for sexual offenders.
Children with disabilities were also identified as an at-risk group.
It was reported that one referral has been received from a residential college in Swindon for young people with Asperger’s Syndrome and associated disorders.
Coun Fionuala Foley, cabinet member for Children’s Services, said it was encouraging that more people feel confident to report incidents.
“Since the Jimmy Savile investigations, an awful lot more people are more aware and more confident to act on suspicions,” said Coun Foley, who represents Chiseldon and Lawn.
“It is always better to act on a suspicion and have it investigated, no matter what the outcome is or what walk of life they are from.
“We have a very good investigation process at the council, with very strict guidelines around how things should be independently investigated.”
The report pledged that the SLSCB awareness and engagement sub group will continue its work to promote child protection policies and procedures in these areas, focussing on promoting the safer recruitment and managing allegations against staff.
The sub group has produced a safeguarding pack to improve understanding of child protection and of the allegations procedures.
The report will be debated at a health and wellbeing board meeting at the council’s Civic Offices at 2pm on Wednesday, January 8.
For more information, visit the website http://tinyurl.com/qazgdzf
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