Monday, 26 April 2021

Young and Adult Carers – the backbone of our care system!

Wales has the highest proportion – at 12% – of carers in the UK and every day 6000 people become carers, but who supports the carers? We met recently with Kevin and Eve from Credu who tell us more about the great work they do to support unpaid carers in Powys. 

Who Cares? 

A carer is someone who cares or intends to care for a family member or friend with a life limiting illness, disability, mental health condition or who suffers with substance misuse. An adult carer is a person who is aged 18 years old or over and a young carer is under 18 years old.

1 out of 3 of us will be/have been a Carer in our lifetime.

·        The role can involve a wide variety of support roles offering practical and emotional support.

·        A Carer may provide around-the-clock support or for a few hours a week, in their own home or for someone at the other end of a motorway…

·        The care and support they give is unpaid.

More formally, a Carer is anyone of any age who supports someone with a health condition or disability without being paid. There are over 16,000 unpaid Carers in Powys.

16,000 unpaid carers in Powys

Carers in Wales

Those who look after a family member or loved one with a health condition and/or disability are the backbone of our care system. At least 370,000 carers in Wales (estimated at 683 000 Carers identified during COVID via Carers Wales report).

Unpaid carers save the state the equivalent of £8.1 billion in Wales each year (this figure is also likely to have increased during the pandemic)

Wales has the highest proportion – at 12% – of carers in the UK

Carers across Wales provide 96% of care and as our loved ones are living longer with illness or disability, more and more of us will be looking after them. Unpaid carers save the state the equivalent of £8.1 billion in Wales each year. Wales has the highest proportion – at 12% – of carers in the UK. Unpaid carers in Wales have saved £33 million every day of the pandemic.

Every day 6,000 people become carers. Looking after someone can be challenging for some and for others it can be rewarding.

Young and Adult Carers have an abundance of strengths and often have to juggle life and work alongside their caring role! It is vital that Carers feel acknowledged and supported for the selfless sacrifices they make in supporting the most vulnerable members of our society.

 Carers have rights!

Carers have rights.

In Wales, Young and Adult Carers have rights that are protected in law. The Social Services and Wellbeing Act ensures that Carers be entitled to receive social care support. This includes the right to a Carers Assessment.  In Powys, there is a guide to detail more about advice and support, which may prove useful – visit: www.carers.cymru/post/a-guide-for-unpaid-carers to access this guide. 

Getting Support in Powys

Credu - believing in carers

Credu (which is pronounced ‘cre-dee’) means believe in Welsh. We believe in Young and Adult Carers. We are based in Powys and have been supporting carers since 2003.

·        We believe in people: their skills, abilities and talents, and the resilience they display in everyday life.

·        We believe in the invaluable contributions carers make to their loved ones and their communities.

·        We believe carers of all ages deserve to thrive and be able to get the most out of life.

·        We believe no-one needs to do this on their own.

·        We believe in supporting carers by connecting them with whatever they need to live to their full potential.

Make sure you get support & help

We think carers of all ages are amazing. We love to listen to you and support you with what is important to you in a way that works for you, whether you just need some basic information or if you want to work through some complicated challenges.

Credu’s support depends on what would work for you and how, but can include:

·        Practical support such as services for the person you look after / respite / financial support

·        Emotional support / counselling

·        Listening to enable you to work through challenges and find ways forward that work for you

·        Young and Adult Carers Groups and Events

·        Volunteering and getting involved as a Carers Champion

·        Courses (e.g. first aid / manual handling / stress less / sleep easy)

Credu also works alongside partners and professionals to raise awareness of caring and provide information and advice about identifying and supporting Carers.

Getting in touch


Here to help

Website: www.credu.cymru

Make a referral or self-referral: www.carers.cymru/credureferral

Facebook: Credu Connecting Carers - https://www.facebook.com/creducarers

Twitter: @CreduCarers - https://twitter.com/CreduCarers

Instagram: @creduconnectingcarers_ - https://www.instagram.com/creduconnectingcarers_/

YouTube: On Being A Carer – short clips of Carer’s stories told by Young and Adult Carers:

https://tinyurl.com/ycmhsxqn

Visit www.carers.cymru/creduevents to see and register for our upcoming events in Powys.

If you like to receive news & updates from Credu by email, please feel free to sign up: https://tinyurl.com/yyg3kfsl - we send out a weekly email with events happening for Carers. Please check spam folders when signing up.

If you have any questions or enquiries, please call 01597 823800 / email: carers@credu.cymru

 




Monday, 12 April 2021

County Lines & Cuckooing - Understanding the risk to our Communities.

County Lines is a growing national concern. A review of violent crimes was carried out in 2018 leading to a greater understanding in 2021 and a recognition that County Lines is a serious current problem.


What are County Lines?


‘County Lines' is a term used to describe gangs and organised criminal networks involved in exporting illegal drugs into one or more importing areas (within the UK), using dedicated mobile phone lines or other form of ‘deal line’. These lines are likely to exploit children and vulnerable adults to move (and store) the drugs and money and they will often use coercion, intimidation, violence (including sexual violence) and weapons. The top 3 exporting areas in the UK are London, Merseyside and the West Midlands. The major cities have become saturated with drugs and have recognised that there is money to be made in selling the drugs in smaller localities. Whilst the export of drugs from larger cities to smaller local areas has always been a problem, the increased concern with County Lines is the use of weapons and exploitation of vulnerable individuals, with the increased threat risk of harm.


Areas with an impact on Powys.


How has Powys been affected by County Lines?


No county lines activity had been recorded in DPP for a number of months until the summer of 2020. County lines have since been recorded operating in towns including Brecon, Newtown, Llandrindod and Llanelli. The biggest threat to the Powys with regards to County Line offenders is from groups originating from Birmingham and the North West of England. Towns impacted by County Line groups originating from multiple areas are at greatest risk of violence.


How does it work? 


We're asked to consider it in the same was as a business model, whereby criminal networks supply drugs. Members or individuals from the group will visit the location they are targeting and get to know local drug users supplying them with crack cocaine and /or heroin. They will build up a client list by offering cheap or good quality drugs using a ‘branded drugs line’ (E.g., Scouse Steve/Oscar/Goldie) and send out bulk texts offering drug deals and incentives to buy from them. The drug line is commonly held in the exporting area and young gang members or locals deal the drugs in the importing area. Those selling the drugs may ‘cuckoo,’ addresses or use B&Bs, Air BNBs changing address frequently, this is commonly known as ‘cuckooing,’


Image thanks to Pixabay.
Criminal networks supply drugs

What is ‘Cuckooing’ ? 


Cuckooing is a new type of crime which involves a drug dealer befriending a weak, old or otherwise vulnerable individual who lives on their own. Like a cuckoo, the dealer moves in, takes over the property, and turns it into a drugs' den. Gangs begin by taking over premises in the target town, sometimes by coercion, by using property belonging to local addicts who are paid in drugs, or by beginning a relationship with a vulnerable individual. Once in place they use common marketing tactics to get established, including ‘introductory’ offers. They then expand the workforce, recruiting local runners to deliver drugs and money. The groups often use children, because they work for little pay, are easy to control, and are less likely to be detected. Children can then be groomed with gifts and money to control them via a ‘debt’ Where girls are used they can sometimes also became the victims of sexual violence.


How can we tell if someone has become a victim of Cuckooing? 


There are a number of signs that can alert us to the fact that someone might be a victim of cuckooing.


  • Missing appointments / avoiding contact with people in a position of authority / or not allowing access to the premises (E.g., Police, housing association staff).

  • Reports of anti-social behaviour at the address. 

  • Intelligence reporting / Increased number of visitors to the address / unusually high key fob activity to social housing properties.

  • Loss of bank card / indication that someone else is using their account.

  • Not staying at their home address (possibly because someone else has taken over it!).

  • Nervousness and or injuries.

  • Sudden appearance of new friends or friends from out of town with no clearly established links or common background.

  • A number of new or  unfamiliar people in the property.

  • Resident appears uncomfortable.

  • A relapse into drug use. 


Who is involved? 


Cuckooing and County Lines involves the national movement and transportation of exploited, vulnerable children and individuals. Once established in town the drug dealer will return to the larger cities. Young gang members or other vulnerable people in the local area are then used to convey the proceeds back to the organisers in the cities and replenish the drugs. Frequently the drugs will be transported internally. There is likely to be evidence or intelligence of exploitation, violence or the use of weapons.


Children as young as 11 years old can be targeted for a County Lines operation. Males and females aged between 18-25 years are the current most common age group recruited, with around 20% of those involved in County Lines being under the age of 18. More often than not it's young males who are targeted and exploited. In legal terms people under the age of 18 are recognised as children and cannot consent to being exploited.


There are certain common characteristics of people targeted for County Lines operations.


  • People with mental health issues or physical/learning difficulties

  • Those having prior experience of neglect, physical/sexual abuse

  • Those without a stable home and children in care

  • Social isolation and those without a support network can make someone more vulnerable.

  • Connections with other people involved in gangs

  • Individuals who are excluded from mainstream education

  • Students and foreign exchange students known as 'Money Mules,' There are examples of people enrolling for courses then not attending, simply to provide a way in to recruit students to County Lines gangs.

  • Even children who have had no previous contact with services who are known as ‘clean skins’.

  • Class A drug users.


Image thanks to Dyfed Powys police.
Look past the stereotypes


Why are children and vulnerable adults used?


Whilst children and adults are mostly commonly used – anyone can become a victim.


  • They can have different roles within the organised crime gang or network. 

  • They are easy to manipulate / groom / exploit.

  • Children don’t always see themselves as victims and can therefore be easily exploited.

  • The criminal isn’t caught with drugs and therefore there is less likelihood of conviction. 

  • Children are less likely to be stopped and searched.

  • Children and the vulnerable are seen as expendable.

  • Older vulnerable people may have addresses that can be used by drug dealers to run their business from, allowing them to accommodate drug runners and stash the drugs. 

  • The train and public transport network is used because of the ease of use, links to other areas and because children don’t drive. 


The Childrens’ Society #LookCloser campaign asks us to look past some of the stereotypes, to look at what might be taking place under the surface. It asks us to consider the situation and what we can do to help to protect vulnerable young people. It's a collective responsibility that we have to ensure the safety of young people.

What attracts young people to the County Lines movement ?


There are a number of factors known as ‘Push / Pull factors,’ that can coerce young and vulnerable people to get involved with county lines. Factors that can make a young person more susceptible to being recruited are 


  • Children who have been victims of abuse.

  • Children from households where domestic violence has been a feature.

  • Children whose parents are vulnerable.

  • Households with a history of family breakdown.

  • Children with disabilities/ EBD Children who are bullied.

  • Children with an absence of primary attachment figure. 


A recent investigation by Yorkshire and Humberside police found that very often victims are sold a dream, or a way of life through social media and made to feel part of something, giving them a sense of belonging and attention not received elsewhere. This can be achieved through


  • Being made to feel special, trusted, liked or fancied. 

  • Receiving alcohol, drugs, money, food or gifts. 

  • Getting a buzz and the excitement of risk taking behaviour.

  • Being offered somewhere to stay where there are no rules or boundaries.

  • Being given lifts, taken to new places, having adventures with ‘friends’.


Young & vulnerable people are often targeted. 

How can we tell if a young or vulnerable person has been recruited into a County Line? 


The warning signs below on their own are not in themselves always cause for concern but a number of combined factors, that raises professional curiosity is worth asking the question, what might be happening here? We need to look at and be aware of what is going on around us.

  • Are they in possession of more than one mobile phone?

  • Are they paying with large sums of cash? (E.g., paying train fares or fines in cash).

  • Do they have any obvious signs of wealth (E.g., new trainers, new clothing / jewellery / phone – could be an indication of grooming).

  • Do they appear nervous / unfamiliar with the area?

  • Are they travelling at unusual times or travelling out of their home area? Another clue is the possession of train or bus tickets. It's not just people coming in to the area, it's also people going missing from the local area.

  • Are they making / receiving excessive calls or texts?

  • Are they avoiding staff or police?

  • Has their behaviour changed – becoming secretive or withdrawn or isolating from peers.

  • Are they going missing with unexplained absences from school, college, training, work or appointments?

  • Have they talked about being in debt?

  • Are they missing their bank card, or is there any unusual activity on their account? 

  • Have they been found with large quantities of drugs or weapons?

  • Are they more confident than usual with expressions around invincibility, or not caring what happens – ‘others have their back’. 

  • Possession of hotel keys or cards or keys to an unknown premises.

  • Entering or leaving vehicles with unknown adults.

  • Unexplained new friendships, often with the use of nicknames.


What can we do to stop the growth of County Lines in Powys? 


Adopting a multi-agency response is the most effective way forward, it's not a problem that we can simply arrest our way out of. We need to be the eyes and ears of our communities, to keep vulnerable individuals within our communities safe. To do this we can ensure that our workforces and colleagues are aware of the issue and how to spot the signs. We need to encourage our workforces and colleagues to be confident that ‘If they feel something is wrong, say something about it’. Information on these concerns may be the missing part of the jigsaw


If you have any information about people involved in organised crime or those who may 

be exploited then please contact Dyfed Powys Police

• Call - 101 or 999

• Email - contactcentre@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk

• Speak to your local PCSO’s


The message from our Police force is simple, “Whatever your role we need you to act on your professional curiosity – don’t leave it to others.”


Image thanks to Pixabay.
Working together to support our communities. 


Further Useful Resources


Government advice - County lines: criminal exploitation of children and vulnerable adults. Brings together documents and promotional material related to the government’s work to end criminal exploitation https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/county-lines-criminal-exploitation-of-children-and-vulnerable-adults

What is County Lines? https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=50&v=3ILaguFXHr4&feature=emb_title

Gwent police – County Lines; Spot the Signs - https://www.gwent.pcc.police.uk/en/news-room/county-lines-spot-the-signs/

‘Are You Listening?’ – New film to tackle Child Criminal Exploitation - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbY7zCJCi3w&feature=youtu.be

SchoolBeat.Cymru have developed a lesson for delivery in schools to educate young people about one of the most significant issues that affect our communities- Criminal Exploitation of Children and County Lines - https://vimeo.com/436784100/96042b5590

Crimestoppers #Fearless - https://www.fearless.org/en/campaigns/county-lines

The ruthlessness of a County Lines perpetrator -  https://tinyurl.com/yya3x43c


Thanks to Richard Weber from Tarian Regional Organised Crime Unit for his recent presentation and information provided. 













Monday, 8 February 2021

Hate Crime Awareness

Hate Crime is an identity based crime. It attacks personal characteristics that are integral to the victim, it can be defined as,

 “Any criminal event or incident which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice towards someone based on a personal characteristic,” (Victim Support)
Victim Support.  PAVO signed up as early adopters of the Hate Crime Charter pledging to help raise awareness and support victims.  

Hate Crime Awareness Charter


Race

According to Victim Support race related hate crimes are some of the most commonly reported crimes to the police. Hate crime that is racially driven targets someone because of their skin colour, ethnicity, language and culture. There’s been a recent increase in racially motivated Hate Crime in Wales with attacks on refugee camps in Penally in September last year. 

Religion and Faith

Religious Hate Crime is crime that is based on belief, attacking someone for their faith in and worship of a God / Gods or for their lack of belief. Attacks can be on a place, person or group of people, with the attack having an impact on core belief systems. Statistically attacks on people of Muslim and Jewish faiths are most common and incidences reported by the media can influence trends or spikes such as the attacks on a Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand in 2019. 

Sexual Orientation

Sexually orientated Hate Crime attacks someone for their sexual preferences, it can manifest in the form of heterosexism, biphobia or homophobia depending on whether someone is heterosexual, bisexual, gay or lesbian.

Sexual Orientation Hate Crime


Transgender

Transgender related Hate Crime is connected to the gender that someone identifies with. Gender dysphoria is the term used to describe the sense of unease experienced by an individual where their gender identity at birth differs from the gender that they identify with. In some instances individuals choose to be gender fluid or gender neutral. Some choose to transition from their given gender to their chosen gender this transition can be social, legal or medical. Any attack on someone because of their gender is known as a transphobic attack. According to Victim Support, Transgender Hate Crime is the least common crime reported to the police, yet these crimes are also showing an increase. 

Disability

Hate Crime related to Disability can take many forms, it can attack hidden disabilities such as sensory loss, mental health or learning disabilities, as well as visible disabilities such as physical impairments. It can take the form of bullying but can also be insidious disguised as friendship, known as 'Mate Crime,' or 'Cuckooing,' where the victim is manipulated or coerced and then taken advantage of. According to Victim Support the number of disability related  Hate Crimes continues to rise each year. 

In 2019, Ability Today worked with leading disability charity Leonard Cheshire to survey 250 disabled people and discovered that; 

▪ 37% of their respondents had experienced hate crime. 

▪ The majority of hate crime was experienced through social media.

 In a survey commissioned by the charity Changing Faces in January 2020; 

▪ Over a quarter (28%) of people with a visible difference have experienced a Hate Crime 

▪Almost half of those who had experienced negative behaviours said they had lost confidence, over a third say they now feel anxious when they go out.

impact of hate crime

Impact of Hate Crime

Hate Crime is identity based crime, attacking what makes someone an individual. An attack on something that is a feature of core identity can leave someone feeling vulnerable and can take longer to recover from. 

Hate Crime can lead to behavioural changes such as 

  • An increase in substance misuse.
  • Deterioration in personal relationships.
  • A withdrawal from usual activities with tendencies towards detachment, avoidance and isolation.
  • A change in usual routines.
  • A need or desire to conceal identities.
  • Moving home, changing location and removal from the situation.
Sometimes the emotional impact of Hate Crime can  be harder to detect and can manifest as
  • Uncontrollable crying that is concealed from others.
  • Feelings of shame, fear or guilt, including fear for family and friends.
  • Agitation, restlessness with feelings of frustration.
  • Nightmares and disrupted sleep.
In some cases Hate Crime can have a financial impact on someone's life for example
  • Costs related to repairing or replacing property or removing graffiti.
  • Loss of work or earnings.
  • Paying for additional security. 

reporting hate crime

Barriers to Reporting Hate Crime 

Lack of Trust in Police and Criminal Justice Agencies- Minority groups may feel a distrust in authorities such as the Police and wider criminal justice agencies. This can cause feelings of frustration and hopelessness when it comes to reporting hate crimes.

Language Barriers- Some victims may not speak English or have English as a second language and may not be aware of the translation service available to them. 

Cultural Barriers- Differences between traditions or different cultural practice can lead to hate crime not being reported. There may also be a fear that reporting an incident may just be being a nuisance. 

Lack of Information - A lack of knowledge or awareness of how to report an incident or lack of awareness of support available. 

Normalising Incidents - Attacks can become accepted, or put up with as part of a way of life and not seen as a crime.  

Fear - where the victim is scared about the repercussions in  reporting a crime or a fear of loss of independence or change in circumstances due to reporting a crime.

How to Report Hate Crime

There are several ways to report a Hate Crime and to access support.

The police are able to support with Hate Crime incidents in an emergency by calling 999 and in a non emergency by calling 101.

Victim Support can provide an advocacy and support service for anyone requiring support with reporting a crime and can contact the police on behalf of the victim. 

Victim Support understand that some people may not wish to involve the police. They offer a support service for victims of Hate Crime and accept self referrals. 

They can be contacted in the following ways

Say no to Hate Crime





🟍Source Victim Support Disability Hate Crime FactSheet. 

Friday, 18 December 2020

Start Well Children and Young People’s Officer

We're delighted to welcome Lucy Taylor back as our Start Well Children and Young People's Officer. Lucy tells us more about her role and what she hopes to bring to it. 

Lucy Taylor - PAVO Start Well Children & Young People's Officer

First tell us what brought you to work in the field of Children and Young People?

I trained as a reception class teacher, and later worked in information and engagement. I first started at PAVO as the Children, Young People and Families officer before working as a Community Connector. This role brings me back to the younger world.

What key qualities does a good Start Well Officer need to have?

Humour, patience and the ability to keep quiet and listen, particularly to listen to the children and their views. Then the ability to report accurately, using their words, the children’s views to partner organisations to enable the children to influence the development of services they receive.

Are there particular issues which arise in rural areas like Powys for Children and Young People?

I would say access to services that really listen to them and transport to activities. However, the role will be about listening to children and their parents about what is important to them, I would not like to second guess their answers.

What impact do you think COVID 19 has had on young people’s health and wellbeing?

I think there has been some supposition that as young people are generally more tech savvy that they have fared better during COVID restrictions, but research has proven them to have suffered more. Isolation and being unable to play or meet with friends, worry about school and exams, worry about carrying the disease into their family have all impacted the young people. The lockdown that reduced children’s access to play and playing with friends has been difficult for them. I do not think the media has helped with the focus on the detriment to children and their use of terms like “destroying their future” only adds to the pressure children are feeling. Action for Children are using their Guide Programme in schools to bring the temperature of the words used down, to think of the difference between worry and anxiety and we all need to use our words carefully.

Action for Children protects and supports children and young people


What age range will you be supporting in your role?

Organisations that work with children to engage with the work of the Start Well board and children and young people to voice their views on what is important to them.

In terms of engagement 0 onwards and their parents. Under the UNCRC right 12 is the child’s right to have a voice in things that affect them. As previous engagement work has shown even young children can be helped to tell what is important to them.

Do you work closely with any other organisations or statutory services to provide support ?

I will be working closely with the third sector and our statutory partners both in the council and health.

What is the most challenging / rewarding aspect of the job?

Most challenging will be reaching those families that rarely speak out. Most rewarding will be any change for the good I can help to make for children and families in Powys.

What is the most valuable thing you bring to the role?

Experience and connections throughout Powys and being able to tap into the amazing work of the third sector in all its forms from the small local community groups to large partners like Mind.

If you could change one thing for the better for Children and Young People what would that be?

Give them a voice and have that voice listened to, and have play, especially outdoor play taken more seriously as a right and a need for all.