Have you ever seen strange marks on walls and pavements outside your home? For many years police forces have warned that some of these marks may be linked to burglars. Most recently these symbols have been dismissed as harmless highway maintenance drawings. Is this true or is there a form of ‘burglars code’?
In December 2018 two British women, Amy Gerrard and Grace Millane were reported missing overseas. Amy disappeared in Tenerife, whilst Grace was last seen in Auckland, New Zealand. Both cases ended tragically. What support is available for families who find themselves with loved ones missing abroad? This article highlights the excellent work of the Lucie Blackman Trust.
When dealing with a vulnerable child or adult, safeguarding practitioners will create and update numerous documents. If the investigation leads to a criminal case, what information is recorded about the victim could well be disclosed to the accused. What professionals write about the victim is important and we should avoid ‘victim blaming language’.
The term ‘streetwise’ is often mentioned in missing children cases. It wrongly gives the impression that a child is wise to the risks they may face, and able to get themselves out of dangerous situations. It is mistakenly used to justify a reduced response from safeguarding professionals. This can lead to tragic circumstances.
Imagine a place where children who have been sexually abused can receive the response that they need, under the one roof. A place where all the safeguarding agencies work together, not only to ensure the welfare of the child, but also secure evidence the best evidence to bring perpetrators to justice. That is ‘Barnahus’, the Icelandic model being introduced into the UK.
Significant increases in the number of children being groomed online has led to the rise of self-styled ‘paedophile hunters’. Members of the public who take it upon themselves to act as child decoys online, arranging to meet and then publicly confronting the abuser. Many of these confrontations have ended in serious incidents. So, are paedophile hunters’ lawless vigilantes, or safeguarding angels?
Advances in smart technology has proved a valuable tool in keeping vulnerable people safe. Where missing people are concerned, assistive technology aides a problem-solving approach in preventing a person from going missing in the first place, whist GPS tech provides police and search teams with an important means of locating a missing person quickly and safely.
For most people the end of British Summer Time signals the start of the long dark British winter. For many living with dementia, the clocks turning back an hour can affect routine, one of the possible causes of a pattern of behaviour known as ‘Sundowning’. This can potentially cause a person with dementia to wander and subsequently go missing.
Hotel and B&B rooms are often used to groom and abuse young people. Those that work in the hotel business have a responsibility to safeguard and prevent the sexual exploitation of children. MakeSafe is an initiative that equips hoteliers with the necessary skills to spot potential signs of exploitation and take preventative action.
There are approximately 130,000 missing incidents involving children each year in the UK. It is impossible for the police and social care to provide the same level of service to every missing and returning child. Proper risk assessment is the key to identifying and responding to those children who are the most vulnerable.