Equality and Diversity in the News
US beauty chain Sephora has closed stores to enable staff to undertake diversity training after a singer reported that she had been racially profiled. Racial profiling is when an individual is suspected or targeted based on assumed characteristics or behaviour of their ethnic group. The chain has stated the training was not due to one particular event but did recognise the need to ensure all staff are trained appropriately.
Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) are being used by employers to cover up unlawful discrimination and sexual harassment allegations, according to a report by an MP from the Commons’ Women and Equalities Committee. The “increasingly widespread practice” is preventing complaints from being taken forward, leading to incomplete investigations, enabling perpetrators to “carry on mistreating others” and preventing victims from gathering existing evidence of previous complaints. The report blames high legal costs for the rise in NDAs as staff feel they have “little choice but to reach a confidential settlement”, which prohibits them from speaking out as they cannot afford to take the tribunal forward.
The Prevent Strategy and Channel
A lecturer at Sandwell College has been sacked for writing “racist” and “should be illegal” on a poster promoting the Prevent Strategy. He has since apologised for his actions, and the University and College Union are threatening strike action by its members at the college if he is not reinstated. The college sacked David Muritu on the grounds of gross misconduct due to “serious damage to college property”, “bringing the college into disrepute”, and “use of inappropriate language”.
A lawyer representing the families of several victims of the 2017 London Bridge attack, Gareth Patterson, has presented evidence to the inquest into the event, stating “opportunities galore” were missed in preventing the attack. A major review of whether MI5 could have stopped the incident from occurring found that the main leader of the attackers, Khuram Butt, was under “active investigation” from mid-2015. Patterson has alleged that Butt was familiar to the police for associating with known extremists, had told others of this “desire to fight in Syria”, and that repeated contact between the three attackers was not investigated. The police have defended their position stating opportunities were not missed and that they had worked hard with the intelligence provided to them.
Climate change protesters have been urged by the Metropolitan Police to reconsider plans to disrupt airport activities, especially if they are attending with a view to commit criminal activity – “peaceful or not”. Extinction Rebellion’s (XR) planned protests have the potential to cause widespread disruption to travellers and to the police, and the fear of drones being used by some activists has led to a plea from the force for people not to attend the event.
Remember those all-important contact numbers:
Anti-Terrorism Hotline: 0800 789 321
Crime Stoppers: 0800 555 111
See it. Say it. Sorted.: Text 61016 or call 0800 40 50 40
And above all, be vigilant! If in doubt report anything suspicious to 101 or 999.
A Bristol University study has reported that Somali families feel “stigmatised” by female genital mutilation (FGM) safeguarding practices, calling questioning around FGM by agencies such as health care workers, the police, school staff, and social workers “intrusive and traumatic”. 30 Somali parents and young adults were interviewed in the study and told researchers how they felt quizzing by doctors and midwives was overwhelming and detracted from the welfare of the child. The “fixation” on FGM has led to a debate to alter current procedures and culture within the Bristol Safeguarding Children Board, who has said they have “reviewed its practices”.
Waltham Forest Council have been criticised for failing to intervene in a case where a brother and sister were “confined to their house”, only managing to escape after calling the NSPCC helpline to report their parents. Never allowed to attend school and made to hide when visitors came to the house, the siblings aged 14 and 16 told the NSPCC call handler of the “secrets in the family”, and a report into the incident by an independent serious case review found Waltham Forest Council should have acted sooner on 12 occasions; the two children had never been enrolled at school and missed several medical appointments as babies, but the local social services did not consider them to be “at risk”. The Met Police are now investigating the serious case review for any criminal activity and the chair of Waltham Forest Council’s Safeguarding Children Board has stated the case highlighted “areas where improvements can be made”.
Selena Gomez has reportedly deleted Instagram from her phone because it made her feel “depressed”. The singer said social media “negatively affected her self-esteem” and her comments come after earlier telling audiences at Cannes Film Festival how she was scared about how much social media can affect young people. Abusive comments from so called “trolls” and overwhelming comments from fans have highlighted and played on insecurities, and as a result Selena has chosen to take a break from the platform despite once being the most followed person in the world on Instagram.
Health and Safety
Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire have reported an injured crew member as a result of controlled explosions on site which damaged the outside of the James Bond filming studio. The Health and Safety Executive has said it is “aware of the incident” and initial inquiries are being made into the circumstances.
A young boy has tragically died from a head injury after a locker fell on him at a school in Chelmsford, Essex. Leo Latifi was attending swimming lessons at the school when the incident occurred, and witnesses reported a “loud bang” before discovering the lockers on top of him. An inquest has opened into the incident to investigate what happened and who, if anyone, is accountable.
An 11-year old boy has been killed after being hit by two cars whilst crossing the A27 in Titchfield. The circumstances leading to the awful incident are still unclear, though Hampshire Police are continuing investigations and have appealed to the public for any witness accounts or dashcam footage.
The Health and Safety Executive has released safety advice for bouncy castles, aimed at those supplying, buying or hiring an inflatable device. The advice includes information on the written documentation required when purchasing an inflatable; safety checks to carry out before someone uses it; how to use it safely; and recommended supervision. This follows several reported incidents in 2018 whereby a number of children were injured or killed, including a young girl in Norfolk; Havant Borough Council have banned the use of bouncy castles on its land following the death of Ava-May Littleboy, aged 3, after the bouncy castle she was playing on appeared to “explode”; and in May 2018 it was reported that two fairground workers were prosecuted following the death of Summer Grant, aged 7, who died after the bouncy castle she was on blew away.
Featured Topic – Fabricated or Induced Illness
Also known as “Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy”, Fabricated or Induced Illness (FII) is a rare form of child abuse. It occurs when a parent or carer, commonly the child’s mother, exaggerates or deliberately causes symptoms of illness in a child, or fails to seek medical care (extreme neglect). It is typically associated with children under the age of 5 but can involve children at any age. The abuser may:
- Persuade healthcare professionals that their child is ill when they are perfectly healthy;
- Exaggerate or lie about the child’s symptoms;
- Manipulate test results to suggest the presence of illness, e.g. putting glucose in urine samples to suggest the child has diabetes;
- Deliberately induce symptoms, e.g. poisoning with unnecessary medication.
Many cases of FII are unreported or undetected, leading to its prevalence being difficult to determine. The reasons behind FII are not yet fully understood either; some cases report the abuser as enjoying the attention whereas others state personality disorders, psychological and behavioural problems are to blame. In a minority of cases, FII was reported to be for financial reasons, such as claiming benefits for being a carer.
Suspected cases of FII must be reported to Social Services and/or the police as soon as possible, following local child safeguarding procedures. The NSPCC’s child protection helpline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for support and advice too: 0808 800 5000.
More information on signs to look out for can be found on the NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/fabricated-or-induced-illness/symptoms/
Holby City recently featured a story in which a mother presented a child with a fabricated illness. Watch it here to see how easily the illness could be real and the difficulties medical professionals had in determining if something was amiss: