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Posts: 9,064
Reply with quote  #61 

The UK has been accused of failing its children, as it comes bottom of a league table for child well-being across 21 industrialised countries.

Unicef looked at 40 indicators from the years 2000-2003 including poverty, family relationships, and health.

One of the report's authors told the BBC that under-investment and a "dog-eat-dog" society were to blame for Britain's poor performance.

The government says its policies have helped to improve child welfare.

Unicef - the United Nations children's organisation - says Child Poverty in Perspective: An Overview of Child Well-being in Rich Countries is the first study of childhood across the world's industrialised nations.

Parents should spend more time with their kids
Megan, 9, Aberdeen


In its league table the Netherlands came top, followed by Sweden, Denmark and Finland.

Unicef UK executive director David Bull said all the countries had weaknesses that needed to be addressed.

"By comparing the performance of countries we see what is possible with a commitment to supporting every child to fulfil his or her full potential," he said.

'Dog-eat-dog society'

The authors say they used the most up-to-date information to assess "whether children feel loved, cherished, special and supported, within the family and community, and whether the family and community are being supported in this task by public policy and resources".

But they added: "The process of international comparison can never be freed from questions of translation, culture, and custom."

We simply cannot ignore these shocking findings
Bob Reitemeier
Children's Society


Professor Jonathan Bradshaw, from York University, one of the report's authors, put the UK's poor ratings down to long term under-investment and a "dog-eat-dog" society.

"In a society which is very unequal, with high levels of poverty, it leads on to what children think about themselves and their lives. That's really what's at the heart of this," he said.

The UK government said its initiatives in areas such as poverty, pregnancy rates, teenage smoking, drinking and risky sexual behaviour had helped improve children's welfare.

Welfare reform minister Jim Murphy said the Unicef study was important, although it used some data which was now out of date.

1. Netherlands
2. Sweden
3. Denmark
4. Finland
5. Spain
6. Switzerland
7. Norway
8. Italy
9. Republic of Ireland
10. Belgium
11. Germany
12. Canada
13. Greece
14. Poland
15. Czech Republic
16. France
17. Portugal
18. Austria
19. Hungary
20. United States
21. United Kingdom
Source: Unicef


"Hopefully it leads to a wider conversation about what more we can do to eradicate poverty," he said.

Unicef's league table drew on sources including the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and the World Health Organization's survey of Health Behaviour in School-age Children (HBSC) aged 11, 13 and 15.

For the UK, the HBSC survey is taken from responses of residents of England only. Unicef also said some PISA indicators for the UK should be treated with caution because of low sample response rates.

The Children's Society launched a website to coincide with the report,, which allows children to answer a series of surveys about their lives.

Chief executive Bob Reitemeier said: "We simply cannot ignore these shocking findings.

Material well-being
Family and peer relationships
Health and safety
Behaviour and risks
Own sense of well-being [educational]
Own sense of well-being [subjective]

Most computers will open PDF documents automatically, but you may need to download Adobe Acrobat Reader.

"Unicef's report is a wake-up call to the fact that, despite being a rich country, the UK is failing children and young people in a number of crucial ways."

The Children's Commissioner for England, Professor Sir Al Aynsley-Green, said: "We are turning out a generation of young people who are unhappy, unhealthy, engaging in risky behaviour, who have poor relationships with their family and their peers, who have low expectations and don't feel safe."

UK child poverty has doubled since 1979
Children living in homes earning less than half national average wage - 16%
Children rating their peers as "kind and helpful" - 43%
Families eating a meal together "several times" a week - 66%
Children who admit being drunk on two or more occasions - 31%

Colette Marshall, UK director of Save the Children, said it was "shameful" to see the UK at the bottom of the table.

Shadow Chancellor George Osborne accused Chancellor Gordon Brown of having "failed this generation of children".

"After 10 years of his welfare and education policies, our children today have the lowest well-being in the developed world," he said.


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Reply with quote  #62 

Are we guilty of moral panic - or is there a...

Are we guilty of moral panic - or is there a genuine underlying crisis among a large sub-section of our alienated youth?

Picture: Phil Wilkinson

The youth of today ...

IT HAS been a bad news week for the young. Today, The Scotsman highlights three extremely disturbing cases involving children, all of which emerged yesterday. From different corners of Scotland, each is shocking in its own right: a 12-year-old girl lying in the gutter, so drunk as to be close to death; more than 160 children as young as eight signing "good behaviour" orders to try to stop them terrorising communities; and a 16-year-old banned from drinking after trashing his family home.

But in the week when a report put Britain's children at the bottom of the league of developed nations, do they symbolise something broader? Are we guilty of moral panic - or is there a genuine underlying crisis among a large sub-section of our alienated youth?


Both Tony Blair and David Cameron weighed into the debate, which could become a key theme of May's Holyrood elections. Mr Cameron used that most popular of political phrases, "family values", saying that youngsters had to be instilled with a greater sense of responsibility and taught respect for authority. Speaking in the wake of the shooting of three teenagers in south London, he also called for a greater emphasis on family life. Mr Blair, speaking at a youth conference in Glasgow, insisted that the shootings were not a metaphor for the state of British society.

But the three Scottish cases, the London shootings and the UNICEF report suggest something is clearly not right - and that it cannot be cured by mere political soundbites.

The drunken 12-year-old was found lying in a pool of her own vomit in the Clackmannanshire town of Sauchie, close to death after drinking cider, vodka and wine which was bought for her by adults.

The 161 children, some as young as eight, along with their parents, were forced to sign so-called "mini-ASBOs", anti- social behaviour contracts, in an attempt to force them to end their bad behaviour in Edinburgh.

Meanwhile, in Aberdeen Sheriff Court, a 16-year-old boy was banned from drinking alcohol and warned he would be jailed if he didn't stop bullying his family after trashing his home while in a drunken rage late last year.

Last night, children's groups, alcohol-abuse bodies and MSPs expressed extreme concern over the incidents.

Conservative MSP Bill Aitken, who has spoken out regularly on the need to tackle anti-social behaviour in Scotland, said there was a real danger of losing a generation of young people to drink and violence.

"There is clearly something wrong with our society when this sort of thing is happening," he said. "What on earth are the parents doing? Basically, there does seem to be a complete breakdown in family structures in certain parts of Scotland, and unless parents are willing to take responsibility for children's behaviour, we are in real danger of losing a whole generation."

Tom Roberts, head of public affairs at the charity Children 1st, said the underlying reasons for teenagers abusing alcohol had to be examined. "The number of children and young people drinking is really concerning," he said.

"As well as damaging their health, being under the influence of alcohol puts them at far higher risk of harm including violence and sexual assault. The easy availability of alcohol to under-18s is something that needs to be looked at.

"However, we must examine why young people feel the need to drink in the first place, and look at a culture where drinking to excess is often seen as socially acceptable."

Statistics have shown young Scots are most likely to binge-drink out of any age group. A survey found 62 per cent of young men aged 16-24 and 56 per cent of young women in Scotland had binged at least once in the previous week.

With England, Scotland has one of the highest rates of under-age drinking in the world. A World Health Organisation survey last year said 43 per cent of Scottish 15-year-olds drink alcohol every week.

In France, the figure is 23 per cent and even in Norway and Sweden, countries associated with a high consumption of alcohol, it is 20 per cent.

Jack Law, the chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland, said: "The laws restricting sales to under-18s exist for good reason. Alcohol has a stronger effect on young people because of their smaller bodies and lack of experience with alcohol. Under-age drinkers are putting themselves at risk of alcohol poisoning, traffic and other accidents, and getting involved in violence."

Dr Peter Rice, a consultant psychiatrist and expert on alcohol, said the key issue in the UNICEF report was the level of alcohol abuse among children.

"This has been a rising trend in Scotland, and if you compare it to that of Europe, you can see a very worrying trend that we are among the worst," he added.

Dr Rice said, in academic circles, government campaigns to persuade young people not to drink were considered to be having little effect, not because they were poorly executed, but because the drinks industry poured so much money into advertising that the message was "drowned out".

He said that where it did have an impact, that tended to be among groups of young people who would be considered to be of "low risk" when it came to alcohol abuse.

However, the main factor in the rising level of alcohol abuse among young people, he said, was down to availability: "The single biggest factor is the ease with which it can obtained and the fact that it is getting proportionately cheaper.

"The Competition Commission recently highlighted the fact that, most in supermarkets, alcohol was the item most commonly used as a loss-leader.

"The fact is that substantial amounts of alcohol have been brought within pocket money range.

"Five pounds could buy enough alcohol to kill a young person."


A 12-year-old girl has been found so drunk in the street in one of Scotland's worst "ned culture" villages that her life was in danger, police revealed yesterday.

The girl was found close to death after downing wine, cider and vodka in Sauchie, Clackmannanshire, which last year became only the second village in Scotland to be subject to a blanket youth dispersal order.

The girl, who, according to Central Scotland Police was in a "severely intoxicated state", was taken to hospital after being found by two young boys.

Community Constable Gordon Wilson said inquiries had revealed that over the course of a 24-hour period the girl had asked three different adults to buy her alcohol.

"There was a very real chance she could have died," he said. "Our inquiries are ongoing."


A SHERIFF banned a 16-year-old boy from drinking alcohol yesterday and warned him to stop bullying his family or he would be thrown into jail.

"Burly" Darren Warchol, of Ellon, Aberdeenshire, used abusive and bullying behaviour towards his girlfriend, parents and grandparents. He smashed up his family home after screaming at his stepfather while drunk on 6 November last year.

But he was in breach of his probation order, imposed for breach of the peace last June, and this resulted in him being returned to the dock at Aberdeen Sheriff Court yesterday.

Warchol was given two weeks to improve his behaviour and banned from touching alcohol. Passing sentence, Sheriff Kieran McLernan said it was "easy" for someone of the teenager's size to be a bully "through the use of power".


MORE than 160 children, some just eight years old, have been made to sign contracts promising they will behave, in a bid to combat antisocial behaviour amongst young people on the streets of the Capital.

Police and council officials have dished out more than one of the "mini Asbos" - Antisocial Behaviour Contracts - every week since the crackdown was launched three years ago.

Under the scheme, trouble-makers aged 16 and under put their names to the orders along with their parents, in a pledge to end their bad behaviour.

Those breaking the contracts, known as ABCs, risk being taken to court or even having their families evicted from council homes.

Fifty-two ABCs were issued in the first year of the scheme's operation in 2004, dropping to 41 the following year and 68 in 2006.

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The TRUTH is out there...........

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Reply with quote  #63 
27 February 2007

KIDS as young as five contacted a helpline about mental health problems last year.

And nearly four out of five calls to ChildLine about suicide were from girls.

Mental health concerns ranged from depression to eating disorders, family troubles, bullying, living with someone who has a mental illness and physical and sexual abuse.

ChildLine assistant director Joelle Leader said: "When young people talk about suicide, they are obviously in deep despair.

"The number of children who rang to talk about mental health issues could have filled 250 classrooms, so it's a big problem."


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Reply with quote  #64 
Drug use


Drug-taking parents will be asked to sign contracts with treatment agencies in a bid to protect their children, according to new plans.

The Scottish Executive move is part of a crackdown on drug abuse, placing more emphasis on education and treatment.

Addict parents will be obliged to work closely with treatment agencies.

Under the measures, parental responsibilities towards their children will be spelled out along with the consequences if they let them down.

The changes to Scotland's drug strategy and the greater emphasis on drug prevention and education are expected to be outlined by the Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson when she addresses the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland drugs conference in Turnberry on Friday.

The executive is also announcing a review of drugs education campaigns aimed at children, in particular Know The Score, which was heavily criticised for giving young people tips on how to avoid detection.

Scotland's drug abuse problem will feature prominently in the forthcoming Holyrood election campaign.

The Conservatives have already pledged an additional £100m for drug rehabilitation services while the executive has pointed out that it has doubled the cash available to health boards for treatment.


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Reply with quote  #65 

Good to see yet another few hundred mill o us taxpayers doe down the f****n drain! sayin nowt!


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Reply with quote  #66 

Agreed Ma


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Reply with quote  #67 

Scandal of child heroin dealers...

CHILD dealers of heroin, cocaine and other banned substances are being arrested at the rate of one every four days in the latest sign that Scotland is in the grip of a drugs epidemic.


More than 300 children - some as young as 10 - have been charged with supplying in the past three years and a total of 20kgs of drugs seized by police.

The figures, obtained from all eight Scottish police forces, show for the first time the full, shocking extent of drug dealing among under-16s.

Scotland's most senior drug enforcement officer said celebrities must shoulder some of the blame for the crisis of drug abuse among the nation's children.

Graeme Pearson, head of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency, said The View frontman Kyle Falconer, convicted last week for cocaine possession, was among those setting a bad example.

Among the revelations in the new figures, obtained under Freedom of Information, are:

• The youngest charged was a 10-year-old supplier of Ecstasy, caught by Strathclyde Police;

• Strathclyde also caught two 11-year-old heroin pushers and a 13-year-old selling cocaine;

• Fife Police caught a 13-year-old dealing amphetamines;

• Central Scotland caught one 15-year-old dealing three kinds of drugs: cannabis, diazepam, and cocaine;

• Grampian caught one 15-year-old with 1.5kg of cannabis;

• Lothian and Borders Police charged three children, a 12-year-old and two 14-year-olds, with peddling the anti-hyperactivity drug Ritalin, which abusers snort as a stimulant.

Police and social work insiders say young dealers are getting their drugs from two main sources: older dealers who want to use them as a "front" and by stealing from parents and siblings who themselves use drugs.

While some of the dealing takes place at school, most of it happens at social gatherings.

Police insiders say some of the child pushers are not themselves addicts and are simply in it for business. While a "first sample" might be free the drugs will later be traded for about £50 an ounce of cannabis, with heroin going for £15 a gram, and cocaine £50 a gram.

Drugs experts and leading politicians reacted with concern. Kenny MacAskill, the SNP's justice spokesman, said: "These figures are truly shocking. Some of these young people will be the victims of drugs at home and will need protection, but some are using drugs to exploit other youngsters. It shows that there are no lows to which the drugs industry will not stoop."

A Scottish Tory spokesman said: "It's perfectly clear that this Lib-Lab pact's approach to drug education has failed. We have children as young as 10 supplying hard drugs."

Kyle Falconer, 19, was fined £1,000 on Friday for possessing £150 worth of cocaine. The conviction delayed the Dundee band's eight-date tour of the United States and could scupper their chances of ever playing there.

Pearson, the head of the Scottish Crime and Drugs Enforcement Agency, suggested such behaviour was one of the reasons so many children were getting into drugs.

He said: "Prominent people and celebrities who call for drugs to be decriminalised are not helping. Young people are using what they say as a justification for trying drugs. Kyle Falconer now has an opportunity to put it all behind him and choose whether he is going to be a drug abuser or a musician of real note, but he can't be both. Does he really want to put his career at risk for some white powder?"

An adult may be jailed for life for supply of Class A drugs such as heroin and up to 14 years for Class B substances such as cannabis.

The Crown Office reserves the right to try in court children of any age for drug supply, although in practice most young peddlers are sent to the Children's Panel, which can order an offender to be supervised at home or send them to a secure unit.

A recent case at a high school in Glasgow saw police called after a pupil had informed a teacher that cannabis was being sold in the playground. The 15-year-old was caught within the grounds of his school with 10 wrapped pieces of cannabis resin.

Although he could have been sent to a secure unit, the Children's Panel allowed him to remain at home on condition that he should attend a special drugs programme for teenagers and that he had to return three months later so his behaviour could be reassessed.

All of Scotland's police forces have charged children with drug supply in the past three years, with Strathclyde recording 119, Lothian and Borders 43, and Central Scotland and Fife 13 each.

Tayside charged 19, Grampian 52, and Northern 26, although figures were only available for the last two years. In the south, Dumfries and Galloway saw 19 children charged.

A Scottish Executive spokeswoman said: "Problematic drug use in Scotland is falling and reported drug use among school children remains stable. However, these figures show that more needs to be done to stop young people getting involved in drugs in the first place - and that's why the minister has announced that while enforcement will continue to be a key part of drugs strategy, that we intend to place much greater emphasis on drug prevention and drug education. "

Information received from Scotland's police forces

The statistics were provided to Scotland on Sunday under the Freedom of Information Act. Because various police forces have different recording and reporting procedures, they are not recorded in the same way for all forces.

The figures refer to youngsters who were charged with possession with intent to supply and with concern to supply. They do not include the many others who might have been detained but not charged, and individuals who were charged for "simple" possession offences.

Although some of the forces list over-16s in their data, we did not include over-16s for the purpose of our news story.

Central Scotland


Age: 13 – Cannabis (1.5g)
Age: 13 – Cannabis (1.0g)
Age: 14 – Cannabis (5.6g)
Age: 15 – Cannabis (76.8g). Diazapam (5 tablets)


Age: 15 – Cannabis (255g), Diazapam (small qty), Cocaine (1.5g)
Age: 15 – Cannabis (126g), Amphetamine (13.6g)


Age: 12 – Cannabis (0.4g)
Age: 12 – Cannabis (0.5g)
Age: 13 – Cannabis (3.7g)
Age: 14 – Cannabis (4.7g)
Age: 15 – Cannabis (19.2g)
Age: 15 – Diazapam (5 tablets)

Dumfries and Galloway

The following table details the number of incidents recorded, where an individual or individuals under the age of 16 were charged with an offence relating to the supply or possession with intent to supply a controlled drug:

Suspect/Accused Aged Under 16

Number of detected incidents:

2003/04 – 6
2004/05 – 7
2005/06 – 5


2003 – 2004


One/12 year old/Cannabis
Two/13 year olds/Two x Cannabis
One/15 year old/Ecstasy
Two/16 year olds/One x Heroin and one x Cannabis

2004 – 2005

One/13 year old/Amphetamine
One/14 year old/Cannabis
One/15 year old/Cannabis
Two/16 year olds/One x Heroin and one x Cannabis

2005 - 2006

Five/14 year olds/One x Ecstasy, two x Cannabis and two x Valium
One/15 year old/Cannabis
Three/16 year olds/Three x Cannabis


Drug Offenders aged 16 or under

Supply possession w.i. to supply etc of drugs


Age: 14 – Cannabis (26.8g)
Age: 15 – Amphetamine (no drugs recovered)
Age: 16 – Cannabis Resin (3.7g)
Age: 16 – Diamorphine (Heroin) (4.68g)
Age: 16 – Ecstasy (30 tablets)
Age: 14 – Cannabis resin (206g)
Age: 15 – Cannabis (75.04g)
Age: 15 – Cannabis resin (66.92g)
Age: 16 – Diazepam (no drugs recovered)
Age: 14 – Cannabis resin (no drugs recovered)
Age: 15 – Diazepam (6 tablets)
Age: 13 – Cannabis resin (0.2g)
Age: 13 – Cannabis resin (no drugs recovered)
Age: 13 – Cocaine (no drugs recovered)
Age: 13 – Diamorphine (Heroin) (no drugs recovered)
Age: 15 – Cannabis resin (too small an amount to weigh)
Age: 15 – Cannabis resin (3.57g and 3.56g of Cannabis)
Age: 14 – Cannabis resin (no drugs recovered)
Age: 14 – Cannabis resin (4.5g)
Age: 14 – Cannabis resin (14.2g)


Age: 16 – Cocaine (5.47g)
Age: 16 – Diamorphine (Heroin) (3.24g)
Age: 13 – Cannabis resin (4g)
Age: 15 – Cannabis (2.48g)
Age: 15 – Ecstasy (0.04g of Amphetamine)
Age: 15 – Ecstasy (83 tablets and 1.22g of cannabis)
Age: 16 – Cannabis (13.88g)
Age: 15 – Cannabis (1490.8g)
Age: 15 – Cannabis (745.87g)
Age: 15 – Cannabis resin (0g)
Age: 14 – Cannabis (10.9g of Cannabis resin)
Age: 15 – Ecstasy (no drugs recovered)
Age: 16 – Cannabis resin (1.3g)
Age: 14 – Cannabis resin (0.2g)
Age: 14 – Cannabis resin (no drugs recovered)
Age: 14 – Cannabis resin (0.3g)
Age: 15 – Cannabis resin (6.9g)
Age: 16 – Diamorphine (Heroin) (83.8g)
Age: 15 – Cannabis resin (55.5g and 3.88g of Cannabis)
Age: 13 – Cannabis resin (12.9g)


Age: 15 – Not Recorded (no drugs recovered)
Age: 16 – Diamorphine (Heroin) (24.7g)
Age: 16 – Ecstasy (24 tablets)
Age: 13 – Cannabis resin (Joint smoked with friend)
Age: 14 – Cannabis resin (Joint smoked with friend)
Age: 16 – Cocaine (131.34g)
Age: 16 – Diamorphine (Heroin) (16.25g)
Age: 15 – Amphetamine (2027g)
Age: 15 – Cannabis (240g of Cannabis resin)
Age: 15 – Cocaine (53.8g)
Age: 14 – Cannabis resin (no drugs recovered)
Age: 14 – Cannabis resin (no drugs recovered)
Age: 14 – Cannabis resin (no drugs recovered)
Age: 15 – Not recorded (no drugs recovered)
Age: 14 – Dihydrocodeine (no drugs recovered)

Lothian and Borders


Age/Drug Type/Weight

13/Cannabis Resin/1.75g
13/Cannabis Resin/Unknown
14/Ritalin/9 Tablets
14/Cannabis Resin/2.9g
14/Cannabis Resin/6.5g
14/Cannabis Resin/Unknown
15/Cannabis Resin/Unknown
15/Cannabis Resin/11.5g
15/Cannabis Resin/14g
15/Cannabis Resin/0.9g
15/Cannabis Resin/Unknown
15/Cannabis Resin/Unknown
15/Cannabis Resin/3 Oz
15/Cannabis Resin/7 Small Pieces
15/Cannabis Resin/14.1g
15/Cannabis Resin/Unknown
15/Herbal Cannabis/Unknown
15/Cannabis Resin/Unknown
15/Cannabis Resin/Unknown
15/Cannabis Resin/Unknown


Age/Drug Type/Weight

12/Ritalin/2 Tablets
12/Cannabis Herbal/Resin/Personal Amt
13/Cannabis Herbal/Resin/Personal Amt
13/Cannabis Resin/2 Pieces & Reefer
14/Cannabis Herbal/Resin/£40/£35 worth
14/Ritalin/6 Tablets
14/Cannabis Resin/Unknown & Reefer
15/Cannabis Resin/Unknown


Age/Drug Type/Weight

14/Herbal Cannabis/3g
15/Herbal Cannabis/3g
15/Herbal Cannabis/1g
15/Valium/1 Tablet
15/Cannabis Resin/96.1g
15/Cannabis Resin/3g
15/Cannabis Resin/1.6g


We only started our database for this information in 2005 and so do not have any figures pre this. We would have to go through all the records for this crime for the previous year to confirm if any of the people where under 16 (over 200).

This would involve a lengthy search of records held and the cost of providing you with the information is above the amount to which we are legally required to respond, i.e. the cost of locating and retrieving the information exceeds the “appropriate level” as stated in Freedom of Information (Scotland) (Fees) Regulations 2004.

The figures are:

2005 - Total 11 (14yrs - 4, 15 yrs - 3, 16 yrs - 4)
2006 - Total 15 (14yrs - 4, 15 yrs - 3, 16 yrs - 8)


Please note that the information provided relates to individuals under the age of 16 who were charged with a contravention of one or both of the following charges.
• Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 section 4(3)(b) Concerned in the supply of controlled drugs
• Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 section 5(3) Possession with intent to supply controlled drugs


Age/Type of Drug/No of Offenders

10 years

11 years

12 years

13 years

14 years

15 years


11 years

13 years

14 years

15 years


11 years

12 years

13 years

14 years

15 years




13 2
14 2
15 2


14 3
15 2


14 4
15 4

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Last updated: 04-Mar-07


1. Bill, Dunblane / 3:02am 4 Mar 2007


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2. / 3:19am 4 Mar 2007

Morning Bill....check out the vid player and you will start realising WHY stuff like this is happening

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3. U. Lukenatmepal?, Mildly Hungover (only alcohol though) / 3:34am 4 Mar 2007

What a fearless and wonderful piece of journalistic endeavour from the Scotsman on the Sabbath. Here we find random sound-bites from various spokespeople, followed by endless lists of statistics, and not a piece of editorial comment to be seen - apart from that all-purpose first word in the title.

Your star reporter Murdo McLeod clearly assigned this case to his two key assistants. I refer of course to Messrs. Copy and Paste.

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4. U. Lukenatmepal?, Mildly Hungover (only alcohol though) / 3:55am 4 Mar 2007

#2 Scottweb, I just looked at your jolly little website and its assorted little videos.

You may be interested to know that recent studies have found strong evidence of a link between prolonged consumption of the more powerful varieties of marijuana and the onset of extreme feelings of paranoia. It really can damage your brain you know. I'd post a link to the studies if only I could be bothered to find it.

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5. Gnasher / 3:58am 4 Mar 2007

If this paper was serious about investigating this issue it would identify and name the suppliers who manipulate these kids, and who supply the celebs referrred to by the cop. But it isn't.

Yesterday's Scotsman said that the pop "star" was supplied with his drugs by "music industry insiders". Who are they? What is the point of journalism if it doesn't investigate these topics?

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6. / 3:59am 4 Mar 2007

Comment@4 U. Lukenatmepal..........lay off the stuff then

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7. U. Lukenatmepal?, Mildly Hungover (only alcohol though) / 4:17am 4 Mar 2007

#6 Scottweb, you took the words right out of my mouth.

And by the way, just because you're paranoid it doesn't mean that they're not out to get you.

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8. / 4:36am 4 Mar 2007

Comment@7 U. Lukenatmepal..He He, nice one......last month, of the 50 or so countries that i have visitors from last 4th most popular was from a country called UNKNOWN

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9. / 4:37am 4 Mar 2007

Had visitors even.....damn my grammar

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10. matthew in davao, philippines / 6:10am 4 Mar 2007

what a load of bull.!! the reason kids are used to distribute drugs is just what you wrote, THEY ARE NOT TREATED AS CRIMINALS. they are assigned to some cockamamie wee program, to be taught ? what i dont know. i worked in mental health for years, in the u.s. these people dont want to be educated, cured, rehabilitated, whatever. they think people who work for aliving and strive for a better life for their kids are, stupid, suckers. then we have the bleeding hearts, why ? because they can carve a nice wee niche out of these cockamamie programs. the say, see, i an a good person, i care. which is exactly the response these parasites love. john q public is the victim. every time. not these users and asbusers. tell me, what has " the war on drugs or the war on crime achieved ?' exactly the same as " the war on terror. has or ever will achieve" sounds very righteous and never achieves anything. waken up joe public. use every means at your disposal, fair or foul to protect, you and yours.

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The TRUTH is out there...........

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Reply with quote  #68 

Justice 2 Committee Youth Justice Inquiry


This paper constitutes UNISON Scotland’s written evidence to the Justice 2 Committee’s Youth Justice Inquiry.

UNISON is Scotland’s largest trade union representing over 150,000 members working in the public sector and represents workers throughout the Youth Justice system in Scotland. Our members work in the Voluntary sector, with the Scottish Children's Reporters Administration and in residential and fieldwork settings for Children and Families Social Work teams in all of Scotland's 32 local authorities.

UNISON Scotland welcomes the opportunity to put forward our views regarding the Justice 2 Committee’s Inquiry and to voice the wider concerns of our members who work in the field of youth justice.


UNISON Scotland acknowledges that the majority of the questions set out in the call for evidence are aimed at service providers. However, as the workplace representatives and as trainers of the wider social care work force, we would like to take this opportunity to highlight a number of issues that we believe impairs inter-agency working in the field of youth justice.

1. The crisis in social work

UNISON Scotland believes that the shortage of Children and Families social workers is a major factor in the current failings of the Children’s Hearings system. It is a matter of fact that there are not enough people doing the job. The 2003 Audit Scotland report highlights that problem succinctly. Its findings stated that between 300 and 500 children on supervision were estimated not to be getting the service that the children's hearings had prescribed. In addition, the report from the Council on Tribunals, the Child Protection Audit and Review and an Executive Central Research Unit Report into home supervision all found that social work services were lacking in ways that compromised the Children's Hearings system's ability to do its job.

Our members in youth justice and care regularly encounter examples of needs not being met. Many Panel decisions are currently not being implemented or properly supervised because of the lack of trained social workers and the lack of places on specialist programmes and—when deemed appropriate—places in secure accommodation.

Based on this evidence and the experiences of our own members UNISON Scotland believes that until key social work issues such as recruitment, retention and training are resolved, the Children’s Hearings system and the wider youth justice system will continue to fail some children.

In addition, non-qualified social workers and social work assistants working in Community Care and Children and Family teams are increasingly used to cover the gaps created by the shortage of QSWs. This has meant them taking on more complex cases with no consequent increase in training or pay. There are high levels of absence as a result of stress and violence, morale is low and resources stretched.

Also, residential care continues to be seen as a lesser service. It suffers from lack of resources and the financial difficulties of the private/not-for-profit sector. Many residential services are so inadequately staffed, that they are dependent upon extensive overtime working to maintain staff : resident ratios.

Additional pressures are being exerted on staff by the closure of children's secure units and violence and lone-working continue to be issues of concern in both residential and day care.

Attempts by the employers to compete with each other for QSWs through 'golden hellos' and 'handcuffs' whilst at the same time holding down the wages of the lowest paid staff will not resolve the recruitment and retention problems. Often where councils have increased pay, the money has come out of other existing services and reallocating the resources of unfilled posts. Additional funding must be secured to pay all social care staff a wage that reflects the true value of their work. This is a national crisis and the Scottish Executive should be providing funds to address it.


2. Need for Funding stability

UNISON Scotland believes that the periodic resource allocation for political initiatives has an adverse impact on core Local Authority services and on the stability of partner agencies. This in turn effects the joint planning of services and impacts on the ability of agencies to participate in effective partnership working arrangements.

UNISON Scotland does not believe that current resources are being used as effectively as they might be. Many rehabilitation initiatives have been established with ring-fenced funding from the Executive. Ring-fenced funding offers, at best, only a fixed short-term solution. We believe that ring-fencing diverts resources and undermines local accountability. Funding should be directed towards maintaining and improving core services and not ring-fenced for specific projects.

The Community & Voluntary sectors are key partners in the field of youth justice, yet historically they have suffered from chronic under-funding and instability which adversely effects the planning of services. UNISON Scotland believes that the Executive must show a greater commitment to providing adequate funding for these sectors. We believe this can be done by ensuring that the funding bodies themselves i.e. local authorities and health boards are afforded adequate resource allocation to enable proper funding for these agencies.

3. Training Agenda

Registration of the social care workforce will require enormous investment in training to achieve the necessary qualifications. For some the task of achieving an SVQ and HNC is quite daunting. That is why UNISON launched the Return-to Learn (R2L) courses. These are designed to introduce members to learning, developing skills and building confidence.

UNISON Scotland is of the opinion that the direction of LA training budgets is not always transparent. We believe it would be beneficial if there was a greater obligation on the part of LAs to share resources by establishing partnership training initiatives with other agencies. This way, LAs would be able to utilise the expertise and experience of organisations across the sector to ensure social care staff obtain the necessary qualifications for registration.

The Scottish Executive has introduced the "fast-track" scheme to enable graduates to train as social workers in under 2 years in addition to launching publicity campaigns to attract young people into social work. Whilst welcome, the positive benefits of these initiatives are still some time away from being realised and will not address the current shortfall of hundreds of vacancies.

We argue for an increase in the numbers of people being trained and for a scheme to allow more of the current unqualified staff to be "fast-tracked" to become qualified without needing to leave their job. Thousands of staff with years of experience, many with SVQs, HNCs or other qualifications should be given the support to become qualified social workers. We need work-based routes to learning, training and qualifications, including routes leading to QSW. These must be available to the whole workforce.

4. Regulation/Registration

UNISON welcomes moves towards regulating and registering the social care workforce. This will enhance the quality of the services we provide and raise the value of our skills.

UNISON Scotland believes that employers need to put in place the necessary resources, including replacement costs, to allow staff to study and achieve the required qualifications. UNISON has made contributions to this and we will continue to press the employers - in line with their responsibilities outlined in the Scottish Social Services Council's Code of Practice for Employers - and the Executive to ensure that all staff are able to achieve registration.

Registration of the workforce is not the same as the professional registration of nurses, teachers and occupational therapists. All staff in social care will require to be registered in order to work in the sector. This is why UNISON has argued that the employer should pay the annual registration fee and 3-yearly disclosure fee. We will continue to press both CoSLA and local councils on this issue.

Finally, UNISON Scotland would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the launch of recent Executive initiatives on recruitment and we have been encouraged by the Executives decisions to establish the National Workforce Group and the 21st Century Social Work Group. We look forward to studying the conclusions of both groups.

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For Further Information Please Contact:

Matt Smith, Scottish Secretary
14, West Campbell Street,
Glasgow G2 6RX

Tel 0141-332 0006 Fax 0141-331 1203



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Reply with quote  #69 

Cherie: we must help young stay out of jail.

Prime Minister's wife says the prison system is producing repeat offenders

Sunday April 1, 2007

Britain's prison system is failing young offenders and contributing to soaring reoffending rates, Cherie Booth will say in a speech this week, highlighting her concerns about the treatment of young adults in custody.

The Prime Minister's wife, one of the UK's leading barristers and a part-time judge, will speak in support of a penal campaign group calling for alternatives to custodial sentences. Her comments will be in contrast to the views of her husband, who has boasted of Labour's record in jailing offenders since the party came to power. Last week Tony Blair said 20,000 more prison places have been created since Labour took office and he promised a further 8,000.His wife, however, is concerned that the prison system is not meeting the needs of those in its care. Studies suggest that men aged 18 to 20 are most likely to commit further crimes when released from prison, with 70 per cent reconvicted within two years. 'If young people are treated fairly in custody and given proper support on release, we hope they won't commit more crimes,' Booth will say. 'We all benefit.'

A report last year by the Howard League for Penal Reform claimed that young offenders are given little help to find work or housing on leaving prison, increasing the chances that they will reoffend after they are released.

'Young adults are often sentenced to short periods in prison,' Booth will say. 'They often come in with many problems, including a history of drug abuse, alcohol and homelessness. They are the most hard to reach and hard to help group, resistant to offers of intervention and reluctant to engage with traditional services. They don't make complaints and are used to being ignored, reviled and, sometimes, victims of violence.'

In February Booth became an ambassador for the Howard League, which advocates alternatives to custodial sentences for many young offenders. On Tuesday she will lend her backing to the Howard League's campaign to ensure young offenders can use the law to guarantee they receive better treatment both inside and outside the prison system.

More than 8,000 men and women between 18 and 21 are in prison. Every month more than 1,000 young men are sent to jail at an annual cost of £35,000 a prisoner. But campaigners say little is done to help them when they leave or to deal with the causes of why they ended up in prison in the first place. Studies suggest that more than half of young men say alcohol played a part in their being sent to prison; 43 per cent believe drugs were also partly responsible.

The Prison Service has tried to mix young adult offenders in with older criminals in the system, but Booth will use her speech to support plans to shelve the proposed change. She is becoming an increasingly vocal critic of parts of the criminal justice system and recently gave a talk on Radio 4 on restorative justice. Her decision to accept the position at the Howard League suggests she is gearing up for a more outspoken role once her husband leaves Downing Street.

Frances Crook, director of the Howard League, said the government needs to make the treatment of young adults in the prison system an urgent priority: 'In the bigger picture, the government needs to use more community sentencing for those young adults who receive short sentences, while providing additional resources to support these vulnerable young people once they leave custody.'


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Reply with quote  #70 

Single mums barred from sex abuse check.

SINGLE mothers in Scotland have been are barred from checking with police whether a new partner is a registered sex offender, even though women in England will be given the right.

Evidence is growing that some paedophiles use single mothers to gain access to children, and leading sex abuse experts believe women in new relationships should have the right to examine the sex offenders' register.

In England, the Home Office is committed to allowing single mothers, and other affected groups, limited access to the register, provided it does not risk vigilante attacks on offenders.

Any such move has been ruled out north of the Border. Instead, it will be left to the discretion of police officers to tip off single mothers when they consider children to be at risk.

Last night, the policy was condemned for exposing Scottish children to avoidable risk, and even creating a situation where paedophiles could travel to Scotland to target victims.

One Scottish police officer responsible for managing sex offenders said: "I think our primary function is to protect children, and anything we can do to achieve that should be tried. The last thing we want is to make Scotland a soft option for paedophiles."

And Britain's leading expert on sexual crime, Ray Wyre, is urging Scottish ministers to close what he believes is the largest loophole left in child protection laws.

The Home Office will shortly announce the results of a review of its policies on child sex offenders. It has already said it wants to adopt some form of community notification, along the lines of Megan's Law, which operates in the United States, although it will not introduce wholesale access to the sex offenders' register.

A spokeswoman said that among the issues under review was how best to enable single mothers to access information to keep their children safe, without risking vigilante action.

In Scotland, a registered offender would only risk being "outed" to a householder if he failed to comply with the rules of registration. But senior police sources have confirmed it is "unofficial but common practice" to alert a single mother if intelligence is received that she is dating a sex offender.

One officer said: "Under the guidelines, only the chief constable can tell a member of the public that Joe Bloggs is on the register, but any officer can tell someone who may be putting their children at risk that Joe Bloggs has previous convictions for sex offences against children. The main difference between Scotland and England seems to be that if someone asks us the question, we're not allowed to tell them."

Wyre, who has worked with many of the worst sex offenders in the UK, is urging change. He said: "If a sex offender tries to get a job that brings him into contact with children or vulnerable people, his employer gets a criminal record check. He won't get the job. Another sex offender befriends a woman with young children. She falls for him, he moves in and becomes part of the family unit.

"She has no means of checking out his background. He immediately has access to the children. In time, he'll meet their cousins, their friends, a whole network of possibilities open up."

Mary Thomson, from Edinburgh, was a single mother with one daughter when she fell in love with Bill Jordan, a US citizen who lived in England.

During a five-year relationship they married and had two children, but Thomson's life fell apart in April last year when she learned he had been arrested and charged with bigamy: he had another wife and five children in England.

Thomson was devastated to learn he had been jailed in the late 1990s for serious sex offences against a young girl. Although her own children were not abused, she said: "It goes without saying I would never have let him into my life if I'd had the slightest idea."

Kayleigh Maben, also from Edinburgh, the mother of a young son, married her lover Graham Eckerman in the summer of last year, only to learn he had been jailed for sexually abusing an eight-year-old girl. Again her child was not abused, but she is divorcing Eckerman.

Wyre said: "Everybody hates a paedophile until they fall in love with one. If there were a policy in place making it the norm for women to check out new partners, that misery could be avoided."

A Home Office spokeswoman said: "The police have the discretion to respond to a request for relevant information from a woman who has concerns about a partner or someone who has access to her children. Under the child sex offender review, we are looking to expand those arrangements."

A Scottish Executive spokesman said: "Notification information is already given by the police on a case by case basis. "There are no plans to grant individuals access to the register."


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Reply with quote  #71 

Today's news that more children under the age of 11 are being suspended in England comes after Ofsted inspectors concluded that primary schools were dealing better with bad behaviour.

So is this apparent crackdown working? It comes after years in which headteachers were urged to make every effort to keep children in school rather than send them home.

Local authorities have a duty to educate children who are out of school with a system of home visits but their prospects of getting any meaningful education are pretty bleak so high expulsions are a worry.

But keeping disruptive children in the classroom prompted frustration among teachers - and other parents. (Parents tend to be in favour of punitive action against all kids, except their own who just need a little understanding.)

Or are rising suspensions the flipside of the more formal, test-driven ethos in primary schools these days where heads worry about their place in the league tables for Sats?

Has your child been suspended or expelled from school? Has your child's education suffered from disruption by fellow pupils who should have been expelled?

The TRUTH is out there...........

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Reply with quote  #72 

Vicious circle as far as im concerned my youngest has behavioural problems related to his frustration at his learning difficulties, I discovered 3 years ago he could read writing on Blue backgrounds (while driving to manchester airport) so far he has been given a blue platic cover for his books in 3yrs!! In that time he has been suspended around 12 times which most of the time i know its had to be done due to the disruption to the class and teachers but now he knows exactly what to do to be suspended in the past month he has been suspended twice so is it working? .....yes for the school and teachers not for the child in my opinion


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Reply with quote  #73 

A generation of British children is being "demonised" by being taken to court over anti-social behaviour, the government's youth crime advisor has warned.

Professor Rod Morgan, chairman of the Youth Justice Board, said too many young people were being given anti-social behaviour orders (Asbos).

He has called for a radical overhaul into how disorderly teenagers are dealt with.

Professor Morgan said that if young people are being issued with Asbos, they will grow up with this label for the rest of their lives.

"There are adverse consequences of fixing a mark of Cain to a child's forehead. We should not forget the lessons of the 1960s and 70s of the labelling effect," he said.

"The argument is that if you give a dog a bad name then the dog may live up to the name."

Professor Morgan added that children were being sent to court for more and more trivial offences such as swearing in the school playground.

Instead, teachers and parents should be letting them know what they are doing wrong earlier on in life, he insisted.

"We are sucking into the criminal justice system behaviour which should be capable, and used to be capable, of being dealt with by informal, non-criminal means," he said.

More than 2,000 Asbos have been issued to children since they were set up in April 1999.


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Reply with quote  #74 

Teachers are calling for a full scientific investigation into wireless computer systems...


Some report of electromagnetic radiation among staff and students.

Symptoms include headaches, nausea, lack of concentration, memory loss and behaviour changes in children.

Around 80% of secondary schools and 50% of primary schools may already have wireless networks.

The Professional Association of Teachers says schools should be discouraged from installing wireless networks until the potential effects have been fully investigated.

Concerns are also being expressed internationally, with the Austrian Medical Association lobbying against the deployment of Wi-Fi in schools

Sir William Stewart, chairman of the Health Protection Agency and a former chief scientific adviser to the Government, is privately pressing for an official investigation of the risks Wi-Fi may pose.

The concerns are not slowing down sales, with more than 1.6 million wi-fi terminals being sold in the last 18 months and a number of cities developing wireless networks across large areas.

Wi-Fi systems essentially take small versions of mobile phone masts into buildings, emitting the same kind of radiation.

Although virtually no research has been undertaken, campaigners fear they will have the same ill effects that the larger outside masts have.

The TRUTH is out there...........

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Reply with quote  #75 

Respect! Good manners to be taught in schools...

29 April 2007

Children in secondary schools are to be taught "emotional intelligence" as part of the national curriculum in an attempt to combat a growing tide of rudeness, violence and lack of respect.

With the debate about the lack of civility among young people reaching a new pitch, ministers are planning to roll out "social and emotional" intelligence classes to help children to cope with anger and frustration without resorting to violence or swearing.

The programme will be integrated into the curriculum, and will teach pupils about fair play and dealing with adversity.

The new moves to instil good manners in young people is the latest attempt to deal with what many politicians and commentators bemoan as a blight on British society, making streets, schools and communities unsafe and unpleasant. The worry is that children no longer have the authority figures to look up to and that the state has to an extent take on the responsibilities that belong to parents.

From September secondary school children will learn basic values and "golden rules" such as: "We are gentle, we are kind, we work hard, we look after property, we listen to people, we are honest, we do not hurt anybody."

Jim Knight, the schools minister, is to announce the plans to introduce the Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning Classes (Seal) in secondary schools after pilots found that it had a dramatic effect on improving behaviour in primary schools, including on attendance records and marks.

The policy is likely to provoke accusations that this is the latest example of the nanny state, and that the Government should leave it to parents to drum into their children moral values.

Nick Gibb, the shadow schools minister, said he feared the programme would dilute academic teaching. "This kind of stuff is ghastly. Schools have really got to focus on the core subjects of academic education and teaching children how to learn," he said.

Teachers who took part in the scheme in primary schools found there was a calmer atmosphere in the classroom, a significant reduction in truancy and fewer bullying incidents throughout the school. Difficult children who were frequently disciplined for swearing and abuse discovered their behaviour improved and found it easier to integrate with their peers.

In Plymouth, a primary school where the scheme was piloted found there were no serious behaviour incidents after a year of introducing the programme.

The TRUTH is out there...........
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