Matthew Taylor

Sunday shows round-up: abused children need ‘maximum protection’ says Raab

Sunday shows round-up: abused children need 'maximum protection' says Raab
Trevor Phillips on Sunday
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Dominic Raab – Abused children like Labinjo-Hughes need ‘maximum protection’

The Justice Secretary undertook the government’s media round this morning. On Sky, Trevor Phillips began the interview by asking Raab about the tragic case of six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, who was tortured and murdered by his father and stepmother last year. 

Raab told Phillips that there would be a review as a result of the incident, amid the revelation that the safeguarding authorities in Solihull had not reported any concerns about Labinjo-Hughes’s situation. He also confirmed that there would also be a review into the sentences handed to Thomas Hughes and Emma Tustin, to ensure that they were not too lenient:

DR: ‘There will be a local safeguarding review which will look at the local authorities’ actions… The most vulnerable in our society need to have the maximum protection.’

We will publish ‘scorecards’ for rape cases

Phillips asked about the government’s latest proposals to increase the rate of rape convictions, following a rise in rape cases reported to the police, but a decline in prosecutions. Raab said that the Ministry of Justice would be introducing performance ‘scorecards’ for the agencies involved, which would be updated every six months. Raab also spoke in favour of using pre-recorded evidence in trials and about trying to integrate more technology in delivering for victims:

DR: ‘We’re going to be publishing “scorecards”… for rape, which means we can see exactly where the system is working and where it isn’t working.

‘Of course’, a No 10 Christmas party would have been wrong

Andrew Marr sought to get some clarity about a Christmas party that allegedly took place in 10 Downing Street on the 18 December last year. At the time, London would have been under tier 3 restrictions, which should have precluded the gathering. Raab had a difficult time responding, but condemned the principle of having a party under those restrictions in as vague terms as possible:

DR: ‘I don’t know the full facts… If anyone held a party contrary to the rules, of course that would be the wrong thing to do.’

Rachel de Souza – Arthur’s voice ‘was not heard’

Marr also spoke to the Children’s Commissioner Dame Rachel de Souza about the case of Labinjo-Hughes. De Souza told him that the system needed to be reformed to allow social workers to be more inquisitive about any suspicions they might have, and pointed to how schools had made progress on this:

Rachel de Souza: ‘[Arthur’s] voice was not heard… He raised concerns and the system did not hear him. We must listen to the voices of children.’

‘We must not close schools again’

De Souza added that, even without the spectre of child abuse, there were enough good reasons to make sure that schools stayed open should any further lockdowns be on the cards:

RdS: ‘We must not close schools again… Children told me that their biggest concerns [are about] their mental health and well being… their education… They want things back to normal.’

Jim McMahon – Response to Storm Arwen ‘beggars belief’

The new Shadow Environment Secretary Jim McMahon reacted angrily over the slow response to the fallout from Storm Arwen. At the most recent count, Arwen has left an estimated 4,700 homes across northern England and Scotland without power and shows no sign of abating just yet:

JM: ‘It beggars belief… Had this been the case where 20,000 properties were without power in Surrey or in London, the government would absolutely have treated it with more seriousness.’

Dominic Raab – People should go to Christmas parties

And finally, Raab implored people to enjoy themselves and not to hold back from attending Christmas parties in this year. Despite a flurry of fervid speculation over the past few days, he refused to be drawn into the question who should be kissing who under the mistletoe:

DR: Our overwhelming advice is to enjoy Christmas, go to those events, people need to see that social interaction.