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Issue:- 25 April 2013

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 last year.

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 world.”

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 understood.

►  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."


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 history.

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 visitor attraction.

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 audience.

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 Tate Liverpool.

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 flourish.

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."

- 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 perspective.

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.

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