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Safe from harm? 10 years after Soham...

It has been more than 10 years since school caretaker Ian Huntley murdered the two Soham schoolgirls, Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman in August 2002. The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 received Royal Assent in May this year, a few months before the 10th anniversary of that tragic event. That 2012 Act represents a scaling back of the scheme designed to introduce safeguards to protect children and vulnerable adults in the wake of the Soham murders. It is part of a wider policy initiative to end what deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has called a ‘13-year assault on hard-won British freedoms’.

This report looks at the regime introduced to protect the most vulnerable members of society in the aftermath of the Soham murders. It considers how effectively such a regime provides a safeguard and how the Coalition government proposes to reform it under Protection of Freedoms legislation. In compiling this report we submitted Freedom of Information requests to all local education authorities in England to get a picture of how many allegations of child abuse had been made in schools and how those allegations had been dealt with.