Home Office: Stay sober enough to know & see what you are drinking - Drug facilitated sexual assault (DFSA), including rapes in which drugs are mixed with alcohol, is a significant problem according to the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) and in its new report - Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault - the Council makes several recommendations to help tackle date rape, including:

  • the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) should enhance evidence gathering, so that the Forensic Science Service can test for date rape drugs
  • the Department of Health should ensure hospitals have early evidence kits to allow for similar tests
  • the Government should seek advice on whether the Sexual Offences Act should be strengthened
  • drug facilitated sexual assault should be part of the British Crime Survey & be recorded by police, and
  • schools & other educational establishments should alert people to take common sense measures, such as ‘minding drinks’, to avoid being a victim

Two drugs - gamma-buterolactone and 1,4-butanediol - are reportedly used in date rape, but are not currently illegal. The Council will report on the potential for classification of these in the near future.

The report also highlights the very significant role played by alcohol, either alone or in combination with other substances, in date rape.

It also provides an assessment of two other reports:

  • Operation Matisse: investigating drug facilitated sexual assault, published by ACPO, and
  • Toxicological findings in cases of alleged drug facilitated sexual assault in the United Kingdom over a three year period, published by the Forensic Science Service

Press release ~ Home Office response press release ~ Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault ~ Home Office - Drugs ~ Know Your Limits! ~ Improving outcomes for victims of sexual violence: A strategic partnership approach ~ Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) ~ Operation Matisse: investigating drug facilitated sexual assault ~ Toxicolog ical findings in cases of alleged drug facilitated sexual assault in the United Kingdom over a three year period ~ Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs) plus various guidelines ~ Care & Evidence training package ~ British Association for Sexual Health and HIV ~ Understanding Drugs Pack ~ Sexual Offences Act ~ Without Consent ~ Action plan to implement the recommendations of the HMCPSI/HMIC joint investigation into the investigation and prosecution of cases involving allegations of rape ~ Project Sapphire - Improving rape investigation and victim care ~ Forensic Science Service

DH: If you want a job done to your own satisfaction, do it yourself - In a pioneering approach, the Department of Health has established the Expert Patients Programme as a Community Interest Company (EPP CIC) - the first time a government department has set up a social enterprise organisation.

Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) will be able to commission the EPP CIC to run self-management courses for patients to help them better manage their conditions - and even to train volunteers to run courses in their area. Early findings suggest that through better self-management, A&E attendances have been reduced by over 15% for people who have attended an EPP course.

The programme offers a tool-kit of fundamental techniques that patients can undertake to improve the quality of their life living with a long-term condition.

The course enables patients to:

  • develop their communication skills
  • manage their emotions
  • manage daily activities
  • interact with the healthcare system
  • find health resources
  • plan for the future
  • understand exercising & healthy eating, and
  • manage fatigue, sleep, pain, anger & depression

Bilingual trainers have been recruited to deliver courses in non-English speaking communities and the course material is available in six different languages. Further developmental work is underway to provide adapted courses for parents of children with long-term conditions, children & young people, carers, prisoners and people with mental health problems.
Press release ~ The Expert Patients Programme Community Interest Company (EPP CIC) ~ Expert Patients Programme ~ Long-term health condition links ~ Long-term Medical Conditions Alliance ~ DH - Long term conditions ~ Our health, our care, our say ~ Combined Predictive Model ~ The King's Fund ~ Pat ients at Risk of Re-hospitalisation (PARR) ~ KF: Managing Long-term conditions ~ NHS Networks – Long-term conditions

Cabinet Office: Will Post-implementation reviews get rid of bad regulations? – The government has announced a new Impact Assessment (IA) process intended to ensure that all new regulation is necessary and carried out with minimum burdens. This is expected to improve on the previous Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) with a simpler, more transparent process that will be embedded in the earliest stage of policy making.

The new arrangements will begin from mid-May and all IAs will be available from an online database making them easily available for public scrutiny.

The government claims that Impact Assessments are a key tool for making modern regulation that is proportionate to the issue it is designed to tackle. In some cases RIAs have been very successful at achieving this, but weaknesses in the process have led to inconsistency in its application.

There will be an increased emphasis on post-implementation review and the new Impact Assessment will be more transparent to stakeholders and policy-makers
Press release ~ Government's response to the consultation on RIAs ~ Guidance for the new Impact Assessment ~ Better Regulation Executive – Reviewing Regulation ~ Better Regulation Commission ~ The Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act ~ Regulation - Less is More. Reducing Burdens, Improving Outcomes ~ Hampton Review ~ Imple menting Hampton: from enforcement to compliance ~ Davidson Review ~ Rogers Review of Local Authority Regulatory Priorities ~ BRC report: Risk, Responsibility and Regulation - whose risk is it anyway?

CEOP: They don’t just think it, they know they are good - The Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre has scooped gold, silver and bronze awards at the prestigious International Video and Communication Awards (IVCA).

The videos, produced for the 'ThinkuKnow' internet safety campaign by Straker Films, powerfully depict child victims of online grooming with the message ‘have fun, stay in control, know how to report’.

Among the honours received by the videos at the IVCA ceremony in London on 30 March 2007 were Best Public Charity and Public Welfare Film, Best Education Film, Best Editing and Best Corporate Image for Making Every Child Matter.

The 'ThinkuKnow' campaign was launched in September 2006 and the interactive presentation is being delivered in schools by over 1,000 police officers, teachers and child protection teams. Over 500,000 schoolchildren across the UK have received 'Thinkuknow' so far and the campaign is on target to reach one million children by the end of the school year.
Press release ~ Think U Know ~ International Video and Communication Awards (IVCA) ~ CEOP ~ CEOP Most Wanted

CLG: Tenants can now sleep easier when contemplating a move - From last week, tenants who pay a deposit to a landlord will have enhanced protection under the new Government authorised Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme (TDPS), which will apply to all assured shorthold tenancies (ASTs) in England and Wales where a deposit is taken. There are 3 schemes available for use:

  • The Deposit Protection Service (The DPS)
  • Tenancy Deposit Solutions Ltd (TDSL)
  • The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS)

Recent Government surveys found that 17% of tenants felt that all or part of their deposit had been withheld unfairly.

Tenants will be able to check to see whether their landlord has protected their deposit in one of the schemes and, if they haven't done so within 14 days, the tenant can apply to the courts, who can direct the landlord/agent to pay three times the deposit back to the tenant. Each scheme will also include a free, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) service.
Press release ~ Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme (TDPS) ~ National Landlords Association ~ The Deposit Protection Service (The DPS) ~ Tenancy Deposit Solutions Ltd (TDSL) ~ The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) ~ National Federation of Residential Landlords (NFRL) ~ Residential Property Tribunal Service ~ Frequently asked questions for TDP

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