The Labour party has been left without a shadow mi

first_imgThe Labour party has been left without a shadow minister for disabled people, after Debbie Abrahams was promoted to shadow work and pensions secretary following the turmoil that caused most of the shadow cabinet to resign.The party was unable yesterday (Wednesday) to say when or if a new shadow minister for disabled people would be appointed, but there will be concerns that there will now not be enough MPs who are loyal to party leader Jeremy Corbyn to fill all of the remaining shadow posts.Abrahams (pictured) was appointed to shadow the work and pensions secretary Stephen Crabb after the resignation of Owen Smith, one of about 40 shadow ministers and shadow cabinet ministers who have quit in protest at Corbyn’s leadership.There have also been concerns that Corbyn has been forced to scrap the post he created only last year of a shadow cabinet minister for mental health, because of the resignation of Luciana Berger and the need to appoint a slimmed-down shadow cabinet.Only 40 Labour MPs voted for Corbyn in a no-confidence motion last week, compared with 172 who voted against him.But the Labour leader and his shadow chancellor John McDonnell have earned fierce loyalty from disabled anti-cuts activists for their consistent opposition to Tory-led austerity and commitment to disability rights issues since 2010, and particularly for opposing cuts to disability benefits and services that many of their fellow Labour MPs supported.Abrahams did not respond yesterday to a request for a comment from Disability News Service, although a spokesman for Corbyn said: “Front bench ministers will be announced soon. Sorry I can’t be more specific at this time.”There was initial confusion over a possible replacement for Abrahams after Justin Tomlinson, the minister for disabled people, congratulated Labour MP Margaret Greenwood “on stepping up to be my shadow today” after she had responded for the party in a parliamentary debate on disability employment.But a spokesman for Greenwood, who was previously owen Smith’s parliamentary private secretary (PPS), said she had stood in for Abrahams only for the debate and was now set to be Abrahams’ PPS.Caroline Richardson, a Labour party member and a disabled campaigner with the Spartacus online network, said she believed the promotion of Abrahams would be good for disabled people.She said: “Whilst I recognise the current situation within the Labour parliamentary party has resulted in some ministerial posts not currently being filled, I am confident that the promotion of Debbie Abrahams to the post of shadow secretary of state for work and pensions is exceptionally beneficial to disabled people.“Debbie brings with her to the post the knowledge base of her previous post, including the people who worked with her in that specialism.”She said that the disabled people who had built up contacts with Abrahams would continue to provide the evidence she needed to respond to the government’s planned green paper on employment support for disabled people.She said: “I think that activists and members of organisations involved in protecting disability rights and scrutinising legislation will be pivotal in both providing evidence to Debbie and her team, and to creating compelling evidence-based reports for addressing the green paper.”And she said she thought that a short-term vacancy for the post of shadow minister for disabled people would not harm disabled people’s interests.She said: “Parliament will very shortly enter recess and then conference season, hence there will be significantly less pressure on ministers on a face-to-face basis in the chamber.“Our challenge as disabled people is to provide continuity of support and evidence to the parties in opposition, to continue to scrutinise legislation and to prepare to respond to the green paper, whilst battling our own private and personal wars.”last_img read more

The boss of a local Mencap charity has admitted re

first_imgThe boss of a local Mencap charity has admitted repeatedly sharing racist messages from far-right organisations including the BNP and Britain First on social media.Patricia Chadwick has been sharing far-right messages on her Facebook page since at least 2015, alongside animal welfare posts and messages of support for the charity she chairs, Bolton Mencap – which supports people with learning difficulties – where she is also programme director.Until this week, her Facebook page described her as “project director at Mencap”, as well as a former lecturer at Bolton University.Among the messages she has shared are a 2015 BNP post which called on its supporters to “rise up and reclaim your country”.She shared a Britain First post last summer calling for “no more mosques!” and last year also shared a call to “bring back the golliwogs”.Earlier this month, Chadwick shared a post which said it “should be unconstitutional to use our tax money to help other countries when we have homeless and hungry people in our own country”.And last August she shared a video that was described as “extremely graphic”, which apparently showed “Syrian terrorists beheading civilians”, although the video appears to have been removed by Facebook.After Disability News Service (DNS) asked her about her Facebook activity, she deleted nearly all of her posts, and removed the reference to her job at Bolton Mencap.When asked about the golliwog post, she claimed that she did not “see the harm” in golliwogs – widely accepted now as racist – and believed they were “a very innocent thing”, although she said Bolton Mencap does not sell them in its charity shop “in case it does offend anybody, because we’re in a multi-cultural area, so obviously we take that on board”.She said: “Some of my friends are black as coal and they don’t mind them. They want the golliwogs back as well. I think it’s a minority of people that are being picky about it.”She tried to claim that she had stopped sharing far-right posts on her Facebook page because she “did not think it was appropriate at all”, until DNS pointed out that she posted one earlier this month.She said: “I went to multi-racial colleges, I have friends all over the world and I’m the least person that’s racist.“I have taken them all off because I didn’t want to offend anybody as my friend group grows.”When DNS pointed out that she had not removed the posts, she said: “I probably didn’t even read it.”Asked about the post which demanded that foreign aid should be made “unconstitutional” while there are homeless and hungry people in this country, she said: “Yes, I do agree with that. Charity begins at home, doesn’t it?”She added: “That’s what Bolton Mencap does, and that’s what Mencap does. We look after our own primarily.”When DNS suggested that it was right to help people dying of starvation in other countries, she said: “No, I can’t agree with that.”She accused DNS of just “picking out the bad bits” from her Facebook page, but then added: “If you read those posts, a lot of people in this country are fed up of it being an open door, giving money away to everybody, when we’ve got people who need help.“To be perfectly honest, a lot of the people that live round here have been here for years and they are fed up of the ‘open door’ policy in England.“You know, we’re only an island, we’ll sink shortly if it carries on. Let’s look after our own. That’s the top and bottom of it.”After DNS shared a selection of her posts and comments with national Mencap, a spokesman for the charity said: “We have been made aware that Patricia Chadwick has made unacceptable comments in a personal capacity that go directly against the Royal Mencap Society’s values.“We understand that Miss Chadwick may have a role at a local Mencap group called Bolton Mencap.“This group is a separate charity and legal entity to the Royal Mencap Society, working independently of the national organisation.“Whilst the Royal Mencap Society does not exercise control over Bolton Mencap or the personal opinions of its employees, we would hope Bolton Mencap can disassociate itself from such remarks.“We have contacted Miss Chadwick to express our concerns of the harm that her personal remarks could be making to both Bolton Mencap and the Royal Mencap Society and to ensure that this activity does not impact negatively on the work and reputation of either organisation.”He said Mencap could not take any further action until it has spoken to Chadwick and Bolton Mencap, which it has not yet been able to do.last_img read more

SF law enforcement seriously mishandling rape cases

first_img 0% The San Francisco Police Department and the District Attorney’s Office are seriously lacking in how they handle rape cases, and it’s unclear how or how quickly they will make improvements – if at all. That was made clear at a Wednesday Board of Supervisors hearing called by District 9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen, who said she had received a multitude of anecdotes about how the system had failed survivors of rape and sexual assault. She was especially critical of the SFPD.“I have heard enough stories that it is clear to me that these are not just a pattern of violence,” she said to a packed hearing room at City Hall. “There is a pattern of treatment that I consider abusive towards rape victims.”Some of those women spoke at the hearing. All of them described traumatic experiences in which they were raped with drugs or physical force, and met with only neglect or skepticism from police investigators.   Rachel Sutton testified that she was 20 years old in February 2014 when one of her professional mentors raped her when she was half-conscious. “I tried to get help but in the process what I experienced was four and a half years and counting today of negligence and incompetence numerous times in every agency I encountered in the process,” she said. Tiffany Tonel said she was drugged and raped by a coworker in September 2017, and later learned that the same person had done the same to two of her coworkers. While she was reporting the crime to police, she said, an investigator told her that “everyone involved needs to accept responsibility for their actions.” Others who spoke described similar experiences with the SFPD. “The police treated me as though I made all this up,” said one woman who said she had been drugged and raped, and later asked police unsuccessfully to interview witnesses and collect video evidence of her drugging. Listening the whole time was Greg McEachern, commander of the SFPD’s investigations unit. He recognized that the police can do better when interacting with victims as they give their reports.“What we’re hearing today is sometimes something is said to a survivor … is less-than-acceptable,” he said.  Ronen wanted more. “After hearing these stories, what’s going to happen next?” Ronen asked McEachern after she blasted the SFPD for its part in the women’s’ stories. “What’s going to happen when you leave this room and talk to the chief of police today?” McEachern did not answer the question. Instead, he explained that the SFPD has improved in recent years and is working with advocacy groups and gives mandatory training to officers. He said that the number of investigators in the Special Victims Unit has increased to 45, from 35 last year. “We tell our officers to look at survivors in two ways,” he said. “If that was a family member of yours, how would you expect that department to investigate that crime … how would you expect your loved one to be treated?” Still, District 8 Supervisor Jeff Sheehy wondered why the SFPD was not making arrests. “What I am hearing is that women are reporting sexual assault and they know who did it, and it doesn’t sound like an arrest is taking place,” he said.  McEachern said there is not always enough evidence for the District Attorney’s Office to establish probable cause and make an arrest.But Ronen cited the example of the women who unsuccessfully requested that investigators obtain video evidence at a bar in which she was drugged. She also mentioned Tonel’s testimony that investigators refused to interview two other women who Tonel believed had been rape in a similar way by the same person. “You are having women come forward and suggest how you can collect enough evidence to have probable cause to make an arrest … they are being refused, and that evidence isn’t collected,” she said. “How is the DA able to charge a case when the evidence is not collected in the first place?”Cristine Soto DeBerry, the District Attorney’s chief of staff, said that her office could do better at collecting evidence through a supplemental report, “so we can assure that we are getting the maximum amount of evidence available,” she said.But both Ronen and Sheehy pressed DeBerry on why her office is not bringing enough cases. They both suggested that prosecutors only charge cases they’re confident they can win. “I know these are difficult cases to bring forward, but we have got to do the best that we can otherwise this feeling of impunity will continue out there,” Ronen said. DeBerry said, in 2016 the office successfully prosecuted 75 percent of their sexual assault cases. In 2017 they won 70 percent, and this year, so far, the DA prosecuted 100 percent.“That tells me you are not bringing enough cases – you are only bringing ones that you can win on,” Sheehy said. “If you don’t try cases you can’t bring people to justice.”At the very least, victims would see that someone was arrested. “Yes, you may lose, but someone was arrested,” Sheehy said.  center_img Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%last_img read more

SAINTS had their Championship hopes dashed in the

first_imgSAINTS had their Championship hopes dashed in the final stages after a pulsating clash with Leeds.Leading 13-8 and looking set for their second Grand Final appearance in a row, Rhinos’ captain Kevin Sinfield kicked a 40:20 from nowhere to allow Ryan Hall the territory to score.It was a cruel blow for the champions who had the best of the game throughout.They raced to an 8-0 lead after 17 minutes and to be fair such was their dominance they should have been further ahead by the time Leeds levelled it up.James Roby scored the sort of try that made his omission from the Man of Steel shortlist baffling whilst Luke Walsh added a penalty.But Zak Hardaker pulled one back before Kevin Sinfield’s metronome boot did the rest to make it 8-8.Then, on the stroke of half time Walsh added a one-pointer to give Saints a slender advantage at the break.The second was just as tight until Mark Percival went over in the corner… but sadly Sinfield had the final say.Saints welcomed back Alex Walmsley from a two week absence; and he went straight onto the bench in place of Greg Richards.Atelea Vea was also in the 13 for the first time since he returned from injury.Starting well is crucial against Leeds and Saints didn’t give themselves the best chance of that when Jordan Turner knocked on from the kick off.The Rhinos threatened but Adam Swift took a high ball on the last.Mark Flanagan almost engineered a opening a few moments later but on Saints’ next attack they scored.And it was down to the individual brilliance of James Roby. The hooker powered through the defence, handed off a couple of would-be tacklers and then stepped Zak Hardaker like he wasn’t there.Walsh kicked the conversion and on his side’s next set led an excellent drive that had Leeds camped on their line.But Joel Moon scooted 70 yards up the field before Tom Briscoe looked to have crashed over in the corner – only for Swift to make a wonder tackle to deny him and knock the ball loose.Makinson then flew down the right hand side but saw his pass inside to Percival intercepted.Walsh extended the lead with a penalty on 17 minutes as Leeds were caught out for offside – and that came after a great run from Kyle Amor to set up the chance.Swifty went close once more but once Saints were penalised for a high tackle on 21 minutes, the Rhinos pressed home their advantage and Hardaker took a great Burrow offload.Leeds were on the up and it was no surprise when they converted their dominance into points – albeit only two courtesy of Sinfield’s boot after Saints were caught offside.Good D and good fullback play got the visitors out of trouble a couple of times before they had a crack at Leeds line – but the ball went to ground.But one minute before half time they got the ball back and Luke Walsh slotted home a cool one pointer.Saints began the first half with Tommy Makinson on the pitch – although he looked to have sustained an ankle injury at the back end of the first half.They then forced a drop out – and put pressure on the Rhinos’ line – before Hall went 60 metres only to be hauled down by Quinlan.The video referee correctly chalked off a Carl Ablett try on 49 minutes and then Quinlan stood tall and big once again on a high ball.Kyle Amor continued his fine form with a cracking run with 25 minutes to go – and then Roby’s kick won them a drop out.Then came the screw-turner!Saints had been gaining more territory and possession but failing to convert it into points.But on Ryan Hall’s carry, Joe Greenwood forced the ball out one on one, Wilkin collected and then found Turner to give Percival the simplest of tries.Saints once again had chances but a Sinfield 40:20 and a penalty handed them great field position.And they made no mistake, Ryan Hall showing great strength to score under pressure – although the grounding was a little dubious.Sinfield adding the vital two points.Saints had one last set to get out of their own 20 with around 30 seconds to go but the ball went to ground, Watkins scooped it up and sealed the deal.Match Summary:Rhinos:Tries: Hardaker, Hall, WatkinsGoals: Sinfield (4 from 4)Saints:Tries: Roby, PercivalGoals: Walsh (2 from 3)Drop: WalshPenalties:Rhinos: 4Saints: 4HT: 8-9FT: 20-13REF: Robert HicksATT: 17192Teams:Rhinos:1. Zak Hardaker; 2. Tom Briscoe, 3. Kallum Watkins, 4. Joel Moon, 5. Ryan Hall; 13. Kevin Sinfield, 6. Danny McGuire; 30. Mitch Garbutt, 7. Rob Burrow, 8. Kylie Leuluai, 12. Carl Ablett, 15. Brett Delaney, 17. Adam Cuthbertson.Subs: 10. Jamie Peacock, 19. Brad Singleton, 20. Jimmy Keinhorst, 29. Jordan Lilley.Saints: 37. Adam Quinlan; 2. Tommy Makinson, 17. Mark Percival, 4. Josh Jones, 5. Adam Swift; 3. Jordan Turner, 7. Luke Walsh; 8. Mose Masoe, 9. James Roby, 10. Kyle Amor, 11. Atelea Vea, 12. Jon Wilkin, 15. Mark Flanagan.Subs: 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 14. Alex Walmsley, 21. Joe Greenwood, 25. Andre Savelio.last_img read more

The half back will move on to another Super League

first_imgThe half back will move on to another Super League club for an undisclosed fee.“It’s been tough for Matty this year,” Saints Head Coach Justin Holbrook said. “He just missed out at the beginning of the season at half back and it has been hard for him to work his way into the team as we have had a successful season to date.“He has done a great job for us at hooker when needed but Matty is too good a player not to be playing in Super League regularly and therefore it made sense to make this move happen.“Matty has been a good influence in training and around the squad and that can’t have been easy when he wasn’t playing.“He is a great guy and we wish him all the best.”Matty will call time on his third spell at the Saints having re-signed for the club in 2017.Previously, he made his debut in 2006 after coming through the club’s Academy system, and then re-joined his hometown side for the 2010 Grand Final run in.He’s played 49 times for the Saints, racking up 44 points.Smith added: “Firstly, I would like to thank both Eamonn McManus and Keiron Cunningham for bringing me back to St Helens, a club that I grew up supporting from an early age.“It’s fair to say that the past two years have not gone as I would have hoped or liked. Unfortunately, last year, the two worst injuries of my career limited my time on the pitch and this season I have not had the chance to play in my most effective position of scrum half.“It has been difficult for me to sit and watch because anyone who knows me will tell you how passionate I am about playing rugby league.“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Eamonn for the way he has handled my situation. He has been great with me and allowed me to leave the club two years before my contract was due to end in order to fulfil my desire to play rugby league at the top level.“I would like to wish everyone at the club nothing but the best for the rest of the season and beyond.”last_img read more

Former officer convicted of raping women posing as law enforcement

first_imgNEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A former officer with the Carolina Beach Police Department is going to prison  for committing numerous sexual assaults against women.Joseph Adam Silva, 31, was convicted of four counts of second degree sexual offense, two counts of second degree rape, three counts of sexual servitude of an adult victim, and four counts of impersonating a law enforcement officer.- Advertisement – Silva began working with Carolina Beach Police in March of 2015. Before his probationary status ended, he was terminated.After his termination, in January of 2016, Silva contacted a 16-year-old escort through When they met, he claimed he was a police officer, showed her his former police ID card but covered his name, and showed her a picture of himself in uniform. Silva claimed he was working a prostitution operation and then raped her in his truck.In another instance, a missing person’s report was filed regarding a young woman. When detectives found her, she reported a sexual assault at the hands of a man who claimed to be a police officer. The man had contacted her as an escort through When she met the man, he showed her his former police badge and a picture of himself in police uniform. Silva again claimed he was working a prostitution operation and forced the victim to perform oral sex on him. This investigation was kept discreet as detectives were unsure if the offender was in fact an officer.Related Article: Loughlin, Giannulli plead not guilty in college scamOn March 15, 2016, a 19-year-old female who had advertised as an escort on was contacted by a man and asked to meet at a residence in Carolina Beach. Once the female arrived, the offender claimed that he was a police officer. He showed her his former police ID card, covered his name, showed her a picture in unfirom and showed her a handgun in a holster. The attacker claimed that he was working a prostitution operation and forced the victim to perform oral sex on him.  This victim had recently met FBI Special Agent Novelli. She reported the sexual assault to him the next day. She cooperated in arranging to meet the offender again so that his identity could be discovered and charges could be filed. Silva showed up for the meeting, and was taken into custody by the New Hanover Sheriff’s Office. Silva had left his three-year-old and seven-year-old children in his home asleep after leaving to meet the female next door.After Silva’s arrest, a young woman living in Brunswick County saw him on the news and reported to the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office that Silva had assaulted her. He had contacted her through an advertisement as an escort on Craigslist. He also claimed to be a police officer and showed her a picture of himself in police uniform. He forced the victim to perform oral sex on him and raped her. Detectives found that the telephone number Silva used to contact this victim was the same number used to contact the 16-year-old victim in early January, linking him to that crime.A forensic examination of Silva’s telephone revealed direct contact with two of the known victims, along with multiple females known to law enforcement officers to engage in prostitution and direct contact by Silva with Cape Fear Escorts.Detectives tried to contact all of the women in the telephone; one of them reported a sexual assault that had occurred in the early morning hours of March 9, 2016, at the same residence in Carolina Beach where the March 15th assault had occurred. Silva had also contacted her through an advertisement on All five women gave detailed descriptions of their attacker matching Silva.Assistant District Attorney Connie Jordan stated, “The defendant preyed on some of the most vulnerable people in our community, people who are fearful they are going to be harmed, fearful they won’t be believed, fearful they will be arrested and sent to jail, fearful their families will find out. By holding himself out as a law enforcement, Joseph Silva placed these women in fear for their lives and also made them feel they would not be safe if they reported his crimes against them.”Silva will serve a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 17 years in prison. When he is released from prison he will be under an additional suspended sentence of 10 – 17 years with supervised probation for a period of 60 months in the sex offender control program. Silva will have to surrender his law enforcement certification. A permanent no-contact order will be in place for all of the victims.These convictions will also require Silva to register as an aggravated sexual offender with satellite-based monitored Sex Offender and Public Protection Registry for the rest of his life.last_img read more

New Hanover County to consider buying part of Echo Farms

first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — New Hanover County is considering buying 18 acres of land at Echo Farms Golf and Country Club.According to county documents, County Manager Chris Coudriet wants the Board of Commissioners to allow him to negotiate an agreement with Echo Farms property owner Matrix Development.- Advertisement – In a proposed partnership with the City of Wilmington, the county wants to develop a public recreational complex for tennis and swimming.Part of the 18 acres includes the existing clay tennis courts, tennis clubhouse and the swimming facility.As part of the arrangement, the county wants the city to share the purchase cost and first phase development costs.Related Article: Ground broken for $30M hotel in downtown WilmingtonThis is the latest turn of events surrounding Echo Farms.In August of 2016, Echo Farms residents discovered Matrix wanted to close the golf course and create a new subdivision consisting of hundreds of new townhomes and homes.Many residents joined together and fought back, hoping to keep the golf course open.A few months later, County Commissioner Jonathan Barfield brought up the idea of the county buying the property for green space and to allow the golf course to remain open.Some residents even filed a lawsuit to stop Matrix from bulldozing the golf course.In September, a judge signed off on a settlement between the parties. It included more buffer between the homes, larger lots for larger homes and an agreement to develop less of the land so more greenspace is available. Also, the plaintiffs can not object to the plans the developers file with the city.The Echo Farms Golf Course officially closed October 15.County commissioners will discuss the proposed purchase at their meeting on Monday.last_img read more

Community gathers after missing man found dead

first_imgFamily and friends at candle light gathering for Julius Cole Rassin (Photo: Jenna Kurzyna/WWAY) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Dozens of community members gathered this evening after a missing man was found dead. Wilmington Police said a body was pulled from the water at the foot of the Isabel Holmes Bridge Saturday. WPD confirmed it was the body of Julius Cole Rassin.The discovery comes after he was reported missing a week ago. Now his family and loved ones gathered outside of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Wilmington for a candle light gathering to remember the 22-year-old.- Advertisement – “You’re loved more than you ever knew you were loved, and that we will always love you and we know he’s at peace you know. And that we’re going to be ok. We’re going to be ok. It’ll take time, but you know we love him and everybody does,” family friend Lori Sorensen said.Sorensen also said they will have a celebration of his life at a later date.last_img read more

New Hanover West Columbus advance to baseball state finals

first_imgNew Hanover Wildcats celebrate East Finals win (Photo: Rob Morgan) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Two more area teams clinched berths in the NCHSAA Baseball Finals today as New Hanover and West Columbus both won their games Saturday.The Wildcats won their game at home against Terry Sanford, 3-0. New Hanover heads back to the state finals for the second year in a row.West Columbus had to get their clinching win on the road, but the win came in dominating 11-0 fashion over Riverside.West and New Hanover join Whiteville in the state title series. The Vikings are in 1A, the Wolfpack are in 2A and the Cats are in 3A.The state championship series begins Friday.last_img