Archive for October, 2012

October 31, 2012 Leave a comment

Pride's Purge

(Not satire – I’m sorry to say)

UPDATE 2 – have a look at this link for the latest on the disability activist who was questioned by two police officers in her home at midnight in relation to comments she’d posted on Facebook critical of government cuts and specifically the Department of Work and Pensions and their attacks on the rights of disability claimants:

PCS trade union sets police on disabled activist for campaigning against the government

Here’s the original article on Pride’s Purge:

Police raid activist’s home for ‘criminal’ posts on Facebook.

UPDATE 1 – She has made a formal complaint to South Wales police and in the letter, she lays out in detail what happened that night.

She has given me permission to share it with you, so here it is, in her own words:

Complaint Against South Wales Police – Harassment and Intimidation of a Vulnerable Disabled Person

 Subject Access…

View original post 1,980 more words

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October 30, 2012 Leave a comment

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October 30, 2012 Leave a comment
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Dilbert does an Iain Duncan Smith management appraisal

October 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Todays Comic

Shave off the pointy headed hair and this mirrors the Coalition rhetoric on the unemployed, sick and disabled, and now apparently the retired….


The Independent: Thousands wrongly sectioned under mental health act following ‘technical error’

October 29, 2012 Leave a comment

Thousands wrongly sectioned under mental health act following ‘technical error’

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt told Parliament that thousands of Britain’s most vulnerable patients have been locked up on the say so of doctors who, despite having the requisite medical knowledge, were not legally allowed to make such a decision.

The error will require immediate retrospective legislation to avoid a deluge of legal complaints whilst a review has been ordered to find out what went wrong.

The Department of Health insists that no patients have been wrongly sectioned in clinical terms and that the doctors behind the decisions had the correct professional qualifications.

Under the Mental Health Act those who are sectioned for their own or society’s safety are done so with the authorisation of a doctor who has to be approved by the Secretary of State. In recent years the Health Secretary has delegated responsibility for approving doctors to the 10 Strategic Health Authorities that cover England.

However four authorities – North East, Yorkshire and Humber, West Midlands and East Midlands – delegated a further step top mental health trusts and then failed to sign off on the decisions they made, meaning they were effectively illegal.

In a statement to the Commons Mr Hunt said: “We believe that all the proper clinical processes were gone through when these patients were detained. They were detained by medically qualified doctors. We believe that no one is in hospital who shouldn’t be and no patients have suffered because of this.

He added: “But for the avoidance of any remaining doubt, and in the interests of the safety of patients themselves, as well as the potential concerns of their families and the staff who care for them, we are introducing emergency legislation to clarify the position.”

Andy Burnham, his opposite in the Labour party, said MPs would work with the Health Secretary in bringing in the emergency legislation but he warned: “There will be concerns about precedent – this the first time that the House has been presented with emergency legislation in this area which affects people’s rights. The public will want to know that it is being used in exceptional circumstances as a last resort, not as a convenient means of correcting administrative failures.”

Mental health charities reacted cautiously to the announcement saying that although the mistake was regrettable, they were assured by promises from the government that no-one had been sectioned falsely in clinical terms.

“Being involuntarily detained via the Mental Health Act is one of the most serious things that can happen to someone in terms of their mental health,” said Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind. “For this reason it is essential that the system works as it should, with safeguards in place to protect the rights of the person being detained. It is therefore regrettable that this mistake has been made and that it went unnoticed for so long.”

Paul Jenkins, Chief Executive of Rethink Mental Illness added: “All of us need to know that if we were ever ill enough to be sectioned, we would be treated according to the proper processes. At this stage, we have no reason to think that anyone has been detained who should not have been, even though the correct procedures have not been followed. We believe that the Department of Health and Strategic Health Authorities are taking swift action and we will continue to monitor the situation.”

Marjorie Wallace chief executive of the mental health charity SANE, added: “It is a matter of some concern that the procedures for something as sensitive as being sectioned have not been followed in so many cases. At the moment we have the Health Secretary’s assurance that no-one has been detained unnecessarily, and must hope that these errors are correctly swiftly so that confidence in the system can be preserved. This is particularly important when an individual is placed in the care and authority of the state.”

* Picture posed by model

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The new Statesman, Bryan Moore:

October 29, 2012 Leave a comment

The writer and former England rugby international Brian Moore says he isn’t at all surprised the DJ’s victims didn’t speak up earlier. As long as victims live in fear of not being listened to, they won’t talk.

Alt-na-reigh, the cottage owned by Jimmy Savile which police have searched this week. Photograph: Getty Images

“The problem with paedophilia is that you have to go to bed really early.” Hands up if you don’t think that’s funny? Hands up, and be honest now, if you were tempted to laugh but then reminded yourself that child abuse is no laughing matter? You’re right, it is no laughing matter, but then triviality isn’t the main aim of jokes; they don’t mean you don’t take the subject seriously. What is damaging is the failure to take seriously the people who really matter – us, the victims.

I told that joke as an aside to camera at the beginning of an interview with Jeremy Vine for a Panorama programme, Are You a Danger to Your Kids?. The BBC came to me because of the widespread publicity around the revelation in my autobiography Beware of the Dog that, at the age of nine, I had been repeatedly sexually abused by a schoolteacher who was a family friend. To make matters worse, my mother was the school secretary at the time. It was a story I had not told to anyone for nearly 40 years and I had not included it in my first autobiography, which was ghost-written.

It’s about people

The programme discussed the thankfully nowredundant proposal of an Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) scheme. It was an illadvised and probably dangerous initiative yet though it is no more, the lessons highlighted by the fiasco have not been learned. This is amply demonstrated by the developing scandal around Jimmy Savile, and soon to be others of fame.

The issue of child abuse has been hijacked by the press as a way of deflecting from its own nefariousness on phone-hacking and bribing of public officials. Why didn’t the papers act on rumours they now say were very clear and publicly known?

Let me get this straight – anyone who witnessed abuse or failed to investigate a complaint properly must be asked and must answer all questions put. However, you can’t apply today’s more vigilant standards of scrutiny to the 1970s. Nor can you legitimately skewer culprits with circumstantial or hearsay evidence which, with the benefit of hindsight and subsequent revelation, appears to raise suspicion.

What is lost in all this is the victims. The accusations are focused on institutions and authority, with the individual cases lost in a running total of victims that the tabloids seem keen to inflate. There are and will be calls for more procedures and schemes and vetting to ensure this never happens again. But it will happen again, and what is not needed is another raft of process-driven, box-ticking certificates of safety.

A simple national register is all that is needed to bar convicted abusers, but the ISA or Criminal Records Bureau registers would not have caught my abuser or Savile or anyone who has not already been caught. Indeed, they would have given them a document to wave around, offering them further cover and confidence.

You cannot have a situation where children view any adult not in their family or not a family friend with immediate suspicion. Not only will this fracture society, it will also put children in more danger. Seventy per cent of abuse is domestic. If children look to their family for safety and are then abused, they are isolated, betrayed and without anywhere to go.

To catch abusers the first thing you need is a complaint; without that the police or any other body cannot start to investigate anything. To attract complaints, you have to give victims the confidence to complain, and that doesn’t just mean informing them of which line to call or person to tell.

I and many of Savile’s victims did not tell because we did not think we would be believed. What we victims need is not just an immediate person being sympathetic and taking a statement. We need to know that a proper investigation will be made if we make a complaint; to know that the Crown Prosecution Service will be robust and that every effort will be made to secure a conviction. So harrowing is the telling of our stories that we have to have utmost faith that as much as possible will be done to rectify the wrong and to help us bear the extra stress of an investigation and trial.

Give us the facts

We are often tortured by the knowledge that many people will associate us with the awfulness of the crime and that, by extension, we will become damaged and tainted. In the case of male rape and abuse, the assumption is that the victim is gay or a likely abuser.

The failure of the government and the media to inform, educate and disseminate the facts around abuse is damaging and makes complaints less likely. It isn’t true that there is a paedophile round every corner and we don’t want the fear of abuse to become as widespread as the fear of crime has become.

If the public is properly enlightened, we will not have to fear allegations that we are making things up for sympathy or, in my case, to sell books. We might be spared the silences that accompany our entry into conversations about abuse, because it will be an issue that, though uncomfortable, can be talked about openly. Only then might we start to know we are not alone.

Blanket broadcasting of just our names does not help. How much do you know about any of us, beyond our abuse? How many stories have there been about the inadequacy of support for those of us who have developed psychiatric problems, are addicts or are at risk of suicide?

The ongoing failure to help us is as much a scandal as the failures of 30 years ago to catch our abusers. If everyone’s starting point is our welfare and we all work outwards from there, at least things will be going in the right direction.

If you really care about the abused and want to catch their abusers, vicarious outrage is of limited use. Sustained lobbying for the financing of relevant social services will do more than hysterical posturing and calls to “cut their balls off”. Then again, the former isn’t really news and the latter is much easier.

Brian Moore is a former England rugby international and the author of the award-winning “Beware of the Dog” (Simon & Schuster, £7.99)

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Pob’s education record!

October 29, 2012 Leave a comment

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