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AM raises emotional neglect and emotional abuse in Senedd

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rebecca evansREBECCA EVANS AM, Assembly Member for Mid and West Wales, has asked the Welsh Government to outline its approach to tackling parental emotional abuse and neglect following revelations by the NSPCC that increasing numbers of children and young people are turning to them for help because of this. 

Calling for a statement during Assembly Business, Mrs Evans said: “The NSPCC has revealed that UK-wide it had referred more than 5,300 complaints about parental emotional neglect or emotional abuse to the police or social services in the last year – this includes children being bullied, ignored and intimidated by their parents. “I would be keen for a statement outlining how the Welsh Government is ensuring that social services are equipped to recognise and deal with emotional neglect and abuse, and how the Welsh Government is supporting good parenting across society because this is not a problem restricted to one geographical or socioeconomic group. I am also keen to know details of the Welsh Government’s approach to the so-called ‘Cinderella law’ which would update the criminal offence of child cruelty to include emotional neglect and abuse as well as physical abuse.” The ‘Cinderella law’ is a proposal which follows a campaign by children’s charities. It would see parents who deny their children affection face prosecution for the first time in England and Wales. The proposed new law would make it a crime to deliberately harm a child’s ‘intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural development’ and sits alongside the physical or sexual abuse of children with those found guilty facing up to ten years in jail. In response, the Minister responsible for Government Business, Lesley Griffiths, said: “Safeguarding children is, obviously, a key priority for the Welsh Government, and we continue to work very closely with statutory and voluntary agencies to help ensure that children are kept safe. You will be aware of the recent Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014, which received Royal Assent last month. That will deliver a strong statutory framework to improve the outcomes for children and their families. However, we do not underestimate the impact of neglect on many children around Wales, which is completely unacceptable. “We have yet to receive the details of the UK Government’s proposals to update the law to include emotional neglect in the definition of child cruelty, but we are fully supportive of the principle of its proposed approach. We recognise too that parenting support is crucial for families and, obviously, we invest significantly in this through programmes such as Flying Start and Families First, whereby we provide a range of parenting interventions, which help parents to cope with demanding situations and then, hopefully, the families can develop resilience.”

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MP calls for cut in beer duty for pubs

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PRESELI MP Stephen Crabb has written to the Chancellor ahead of next week’s Budget calling on him not to increase alcohol duties and to cut the tax on draught sales to help stop pubs going out of business.

Mr Crabb is one of more than a 100 MPs calling for a cut in the ‘keg tax’ to help pubs compete more fairly with supermarket sales of alcohol. 

Currently, beer drinkers have to pay around £1 in tax for every pint they drink in a pub, which is the highest rate in Europe and nearly twelve times higher than in Germany.

Commenting on the letter, Mr Crabb said: “Pubs are at the heart of so many of our communities and when a pub closes down something special is  lost. That is why I am calling on the Chancellor to reduce the beer duty from the keg. A cut will not only bolster our much-loved pubs across our towns and villages, but also have a knock-on boost for British agriculture and employment. 

“Over a hundred Conservative MPs and I hope that after a difficult period the Chancellor will give our pubs and clubs something to raise a drink to this budget.”

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County lines intensification week sees drug supply disrupted into west Wales

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Officers from Dyfed-Powys Police carried out 11 raids during a week of action tackling county lines drug gangs.

COUNTY LINES intensification week (Monday, 11 October to Sunday, 17 October) saw officers carry out warrants, intercepting vehicles potentially involved in the supply of drugs, and working with partners to raise awareness of drug-related crime.

Seventeen people were arrested during the week, with crack cocaine (0.8grams), heroin (77g) and cocaine (6g) seized.

The value of those drugs is estimated to be around £4,500, while officers seized £6,500 under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Also seized were an extendable baton and an ammunition magazine.

Temporary Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Cotterell said: “The county lines intensification week was successful for Dyfed-Powys Police, and we had a number of excellent results thanks to the proactive work of officers and police staff across the four divisions.”

As well as the front-line warrants and police work, a lot went on behind the scenes, leading to:

  • More than 2,000 people educated about County Lines and exploitation during the intensification week in the community and partner agencies.
  • Some 50 letting agencies/estate agents educated about the dangers of criminality, such as County lines activity in rented properties.
  • More than 150 businesses educated about county lines, with an emphasis on those who provide mobile top-up services and the use of ‘burner phones’.
  • 50 ‘at-risk’ or vulnerable children, young people and adults received targeted safeguarding support on a 1-2-1 basis and in group settings.

DCI Cotterell added: “Few people are aware of the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to support victims, or the measures we put in place to stop people from becoming repeat victims of drug-related crime.”

“It is very important to us as a force that while we act on all new intelligence to disrupt county lines, we also take a victim-oriented approach to working with those affected by these gangs to protect them from becoming repeat victims.”

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Pembroke Dock: Pensioner sentenced to 20 years for child sex offences

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A PENSIONER from Pembroke Dock has been given an extended sentence of 20 years in prison with a further year on licence after being found guilty of historical rape of a child in the 1980s.

Barry Lake, aged 70, was sentenced at Swansea Crown Court today (22 October) having been found guilty of 10 counts of rape of a child and two charges of gross indecency with a child last month.

Lake, now of Newton-le-Willows in St Helens, had denied all 12 charges relating to offences between January 1986 and January 1989.

Lake was first questioned by Dyfed-Powys Police in April 2020 in what would become an intensive and complex investigation.

Investigating officer DC Claire Lewis said: “Lake denied all charges, putting his victim through the ordeal of a trial.

“As they have done throughout the investigation, they showed great courage and dignity in the face of adversity to help us convict their abuser.

“This was a long and intensive investigation with a lot of work to achieve this outcome today.

“This sentence shows that it doesn’t matter how long ago a victim has suffered sexual abuse, we as police are here to listen and take seriously any person who has suffered any form of sexual abuse albeit a day or 35 years after.

“Please do not be scared to come forward, we are here to listen to you.

“Once again, I would like to commend the victim for their bravery for coming forward and achieving this outcome today.”

After serving 20 years in prison Lake will serve another year on licence.

He was also ordered to sign the Sex Offender Register indefinitely and made the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

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