NSPCC says we
must look at why children are running away
THE NSPCC are calling for
urgent action to protect children from sexual exploitation as new
figures reveal that nearly 3,000 repeatedly went missing from care
Police forces in England and Wales recorded over 28,000 such
incidents with some children running away dozens of times. One
vanished on 67 occasions. Merseyside Police reported 1,425 incidents
of them being asked to look for missing children, involving 157
children being reported as missing more than once.
When children frequently go missing it puts them at increased risk
of harm, particularly from grooming gangs, who specifically target
vulnerable youngsters for sexual abuse.
The NSPCC wants a more focused effort to establish why young people
go missing and improve ways of preventing it happening.
Tom Rahilly, head of the NSPCC's Looked After Children programme,
said:- "The state needs to be a parent for these children. If
any other child went missing their parents would move heaven and
earth to find them and to understand why they did it. It should be
no different for young people in care. Repeatedly going missing
should be a big warning sign as this kind of behaviour can put them
at serious risk of harm such as grooming or sexual exploitation. But
we have to understand why they are doing it. Children go missing for
many reasons; they're being bullied, they've been put in a home
miles from their family and they miss them and their friends, or
they just don't trust staff enough to tell them where they are. Many
will have been abused before being placed in care and they need a
lot of attention and protection. Going missing for just an hour or
two can be long enough for them to come to harm. Of course care
staff have a difficult job and many local authorities are working
hard to deal with this problem, but children tell us they are
looking for someone to understand why they go missing and to help
set boundaries for them. Children want a little love and to be able
to speak to someone who understands the difficulties they face.
Otherwise, in the words of one young boy in care, they are 'dead to
The NSPCC is calling for:-
► Children's experiences of
going missing from care to be put at the heart of professionals'
responses. Too often children say that they are punished for going
missing while their concerns and fears are not listened to or
► Professionals working in
residential homes to act like parents. They must understand why a
child went missing and how their needs can be met to keep them safe
and prevent future absences. Support should be provided to ensure
that practitioners are able to build trusting relationships with
children in their care and that practitioners know when to involve
the police and other services.
► Repeatedly going missing from care
to be seen by all professionals as a sign that children are at
heightened risk of harm .Those caring for children can sometimes
miss signs of abuse that could allow vulnerable children to be
harmed. Repeatedly going missing from care, even if only for short
periods of time, is a sign that a child is at risk. It should not be
treated as low priority by carers and the police. Professionals must
work together to develop a tailored response for each child.
► Police, children's services and
residential care providers in a local area must be clear about what
is expected of each other. The emphasis should be on preventing
children going missing in the 1st place and returning them to safe
care as quickly as possible when they do.
In Liverpool our service centre provides 2 services for looked after
children. These services include:-
► Safeguarding looked after children
through advocacy - A programme providing children in care with a
trusted adult to help ensure their safety and protection.
► Connecting with children in care -
A programme providing children in care with a new way to get the
support they need.
A Freedom of Information request from the NSPCC revealed that police
received, on average, more than 75 reports a day involving nearly
7,900 youngsters, many of who were aged 13 to 17. At least 2959 of
the children went missing more than once with some absconding on 35
occasions. Some weren't seen for more than a week and one force
reported that 6 had still not been found.
However this is still believed to be a drastic under estimate of the
scale of the problem as it is thought less than half of all cases
are reported to police and only 29 out of 43 of the forces contacted
responded in full to the FOI. Latest figures from the Department for
Education put the number of children who went missing from care at
under 1000; a vast difference to that supplied by Police.
An inquiry in 2010 by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Runaway
and Missing Children was told there was evidence that missing
children are at risk of being groomed and sexually exploited, but
there was no clear picture of the size of the problem.
Children's Rights Director, Dr Roger Morgan, told the inquiry:-
"If you ask me how many children run from care I don't think
anyone knows the answer to that and that is a major concern.”
"Paedophiles could walk free"
- says MEP
A North West MEP has
described Conservative plans to opt out of co-operation with crime
fighting agencies across Europe as a 'paedophiles charter’.
Police forces across Europe now share data on criminals to improve
the chances of catching and convicting serious offenders. Home
Secretary Theresa May has proposed that the UK should opt out of
over 100 cross border crime fighting measures. The Liberal Democrats
in the coalition government have criticised the proposals, and their
views were this week shared by a cross-party committee of Lords. It
reported that:- "opting out would have significant adverse
negative repercussions for the internal security of the UK and the
administration of criminal justice in the UK, as well as reducing
its influence over this area of EU policy." The Liberal
Democrat MEP Chris Davies claims that co-operation between police
forces across Europe has led to the detection and prosecution of
hundreds of serious criminals, including murderers, rapists and
paedophiles. He told us that:- "Tens of millions of people
travel across national borders each year and criminals are amongst
them. Encouraging crime fighting agencies to work closely together
is exactly what the European Union should be doing. Conservatives
and UKIP seem to prefer to pick a fight with the EU and risk
criminals walking free rather than encouraging police officers here
to work closely with continental colleagues."
DESTINATION LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN
GOWER Street Estates (GSE)
have launched the "Albert Dock - MAKING HISTORY"
campaign that reflects the global significance and impact of Albert
Dock and its place in Liverpool's economic, cultural and social
The campaign consists of a series of activities throughout the year
that will engage with both local and international visitors to
celebrate Albert Dock's journey from being a world port to an iconic
Albert Dock - MAKING HISTORY will stimulate the memories of all
those who have visited the Dock. From the people of Liverpool to
tourists from across the globe, visitor's relationship with Albert
Dock will be explored. Albert Dock - MAKING HISTORY will be the
first in a series of campaigns that will lead towards Albert Dock's
historic 175th anniversary in 2021.
From hearing the voice of Prince Albert to sharing memories with the
rest of the world, Gower Street Estates will be hosting Albert Dock
- MAKING HISTORY, a free programme of activity that will enlighten
and entertain visitors to Albert Dock Liverpool.
Since its opening in 1846 Albert Dock has been a major character in
the story of Liverpool. From its maritime past to its continued
importance to the City today, 2013 marks 25 years since Albert Dock
was revitalised and regenerated in 1988 and its new journey began.
Albert Dock is the largest collection of Grade 1 listed buildings in
the UK and over the last 25 years has become one of the most
photographed, visited and iconic visitor attractions in the UK. It
welcomes around 5m visitors each year with a growing international
Jesse Hartley's revolutionary Dock design turned Liverpool into a
major port on the world's stage and by the early 19th century, 40%
of the global trade passed through Liverpool's docks. However the
Dock fell into decline from the 1860s until WWII when it was used as
a base for escort ships in the Battle of the Atlantic.
In 1972 it was eventually abandoned until March 1981 when Lord
Michael Heseltine set up the Merseyside Development Corporation to
take over the responsibility of regenerating and redeveloping
Liverpool's south docks. By 1988 the Docks had been revitalised and
regenerated, becoming home to the Merseyside Maritime Museum and
Since its official opening 25 years ago Albert Dock has became the
catalyst for change within the City and has become a symbol of
Liverpool's renaissance and regeneration. Albert Dock - MAKING
HISTORY will reignite people's appreciation for Albert Dock and give
the opportunity for personal relationships with the Dock to
Peter Cronin, Director of Development and Marketing, Gower Street
Estates, said:- "Albert Dock - MAKING HISTORY will celebrate
what Albert Dock has achieved, but more importantly will look
forward and shape Albert Dock's future. Albert Dock has always been
a key part of Liverpool and as a changing and evolving City, Albert
Dock will change and evolve also. Liverpool was built on its Docks
and Albert Dock has played an important role in Liverpool's history.
This significant 25th anniversary has given us the opportunity to
tailor a programme of activity across the year that will encourage
visitors to connect and build a new relationship with our historic
and iconic Dock."
MAKING HISTORY AROUND THE WORLD - 17 May 2013
Using the online app,
people are invited to share their memories of the Albert Dock with
the world. From locals to expatriates and tourists, everyone will
have a story to tell about their visit, from a tale about a marriage
proposal to a picture of a memorable day with the family, the app
will be the perfect way to share a memory.
Making History around the World will create a unique platform to
share experiences of one of the most iconic tourist destinations in
the world and thus demonstrating its global significance.
The web app will also give users the opportunity to reconnect with
the Albert Dock and engage with other people's experiences and
memories. Making History around the World is an international
platform for people to engage with the Albert Dock even if they
can't visit in person.
To celebrate the launch of the web app, Tate Liverpool will give its
visitors the opportunity to share their memories on the app from a
special station within the Tate Liverpool is 25 display, which runs
from 17 May to 27 May 2013. Visitors will be able to continue
sharing their memories of the Albert Dock, with the
station having a presence in the gallery throughout the summer.
VOICES OF THE DOCK - August 2013 and onwards
This Summer, visitors will be taken on a listening tour, guided by
voices of the past and present.
Supported by maritime experts at the Merseyside Maritime Museum,
Voices of the Dock is an audio experience around the colonnades of
Albert Dock providing a unique experience bringing it to life.
Voices known and unknown who have contributed to the Albert Dock's
history will share their stories and experiences from a personal
The voices will give a mixture of historic facts as well as personal
accounts. From Prince Albert explaining his first impressions of the
Dock in 1846 to Michael Angelis, star of Boys from the Blackstuff,
describing how Albert Dock has changed over the last 25 years, the
story of the Dock will be told.
MAKING HISTORY - A City in Change, October 2013
Gower Street Estates, trading as Albert Dock Liverpool, has
officially invited Lord Michael Heseltine to take part in a panel
discussion chaired by Place North West's editor, Paul Unger.
This free event will give members of the public and business people
from across the region the opportunity to take part in a discussion
about Albert Dock and its impact on the City.
Since the Merseyside Development Corporation developed the Dock,
with Arrowcroft Properties, the panel will discuss the fortunes of
Albert Dock and its regeneration. Individual key spokespeople from
the City and Albert Dock will be on the panel to discuss the changes
Liverpool has seen and whether Albert Dock's transformation was a
catalyst for this radical and positive change.