Kategoriarkiv: Storbritannia / United Kingdom

Sak 309/12 NEMND 4/13, 24. apr. 2013

Pakkereisenemnda

Saken gjelder

Saken gjelder språkreise til Brighton, England.

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Klageranfører at da datteren Elise meldte seg på språkreisen, var det en

forutsetning at hun og venninnen skulle dele vertsfamilie. Det fikk de, men selv om de var klar over at de kunne komme i forskjellige klasser på skolen, ble det et sjokk at de også ble delt på fritiden. Det innebar at datteren måtte ta buss alene og gå

alene i 10 min for å komme til og fra vertsfamilien på kveldstid.

Dette ødela trivselen for to jenter som hadde gledet seg til å være sammen i Brighton og medførte fare for sikkerheten til datteren.

 

Klager mener EF har feilinformert og at behovet for trygghet og sikkerhet må ha

prioritet og ikke overlates til ungdommene selv. Det var ikke informert om at de som reiste sammen også ville bli delt på fritiden slik at de måtte reise hjem til vertsfamilien alene. Tanken på at EF har satt datterens liv på spill, er rystende.

Klager og hennes mann fikk store deler av sin Barcelonaferie ødelagt fordi de måtte kjempe med EF for at datteren skulle være trygg. Fordi EF har feilinformert og satt datterens liv i fare, mener klager at halvparten av reisens pris bør tilbakebetales.

 

EF Språkreiserhar anført at de alltid oppfordrer studentene til å gå hjem sammen med en annen student. Alle studenter blir ved ankomst vist veien til sentrum første skoledag og veien tilbake. Hadde EF fått vite om situasjonen for Elise mens hun var der, kunne de ha gitt henne opplysninger om andre studenter som bodde i nærheten. Innenfor 6 min spasertur fra der Elise bodde hadde de to andre vertsfamilier.

EF har tilbudt en rabatt på kr.4.000,- ved eventuell ny reise.

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Nemnda bemerker

En pakkereise er mangelfull hvis den avviker fra det som er avtalt eller forutsatt i

avtalen, jf. pakkereiseloven § 6-1. Mangler kan gi grunnlag for prisavslag med mindre de avhjelpes innen rimelig tid.

 

På en slik språkreise for ungdom er det viktig at sikkerheten er godt ivaretatt.

Hvis det ikke er gjort, kan det foreligge en mangel ved reisen i pakkereiselovens

forstand. Problemet i saken her, så vidt nemnda forstår, var at Elise måtte vente –

enten på sin venninne som hun reiste sammen med og delte vertsfamilie med,

eller på den andre studenten som også bodde i den vertsfamilien – for å ha følge hjem etter skolen. Årsaken til dette var at de gikk i ulike klasser og også hadde ulike fritidsaktiviteter.

 

Nemnda forstår at dette kunne innebære både praktiske problemer og skuffelse over ikke å få være mer sammen med venninnen. Nemnda kan imidlertid ikke se at det er sannsynliggjort at dette utgjorde en sikkerhetsrisiko av en slik art at det var en

mangel ved reisen i lovens forstand. Nemnda finner derfor ikke grunnlag for klagers krav, men forutsetter at tilbudet om rabatt opprettholdes.

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Vedtak

Reklamasjonsnemnda kan ikke anbefale at det gis prisavslag.

 

Vedtaket var enstemmig.

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Kategori

Utfall for klager

Medhold

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Nemndas sammensetning

Lagdommer Svein Dahl, Leder
Pål Martin Andersen, Forbrukerrådet
Silje Jystad, Forbrukerrådet
Marianne Delbekk, Apollo Reiser AS
Christine Tang, Detur Norway AS

Storbritannia / United Kingdom 1

«In UK look right before crossing road»

Skottland / Scotland / Scotia 1

In the West, don’t mention religion. Catholic/protestant causes more fights than anything else. Even saying you follow Celtic/Rangers can be enough.

In the North, any mention of sheep-shagging will get you punched.(Dette er visst fordi de blir mobbet en del for det av alle andre)

In Edinburgh, if you say you like Glasgow or the West, you will immediately be hated.

And basically in all of Scotland, if you praise England or suggest we are one country, you will not be welcome.

UK: Entry requirements

Hentet fra Study in Britain and Ireland’s sider.

Om dere reiser med et utvekslingsbyrå skal de sørge for at dere ordner dette på riktig måte. Det er derfor dere betaler dem. Alle utgifter til visa kommer i tillegg.

European Economic Area
If you are a national of a European Union country or are from Norway or Iceland you are free to enter the UK to study, live and work and you do not need a visa.  … Icelandic and Norwegian students have to pay full fees as international students, but do not need work visas and so can fund their course by working.

Non-visa Nationals:
Non-visa nationals are from countries that don’t require a visa to enter Britain, you can arrive with the necessary documentation and be issued the visa when you arrive. You need:

  • Proof that you have been accepted onto a full-time course at a UK school … (totaling 15 or more hours a week).
  • A letter from your new school or college, … on their official headed paper, to state that you have paid your deposit and/or your tuition fees.
  • Proof that you have the funds to pay for your study and living expenses … (travellers’ cheques, a bank draft drawn on a UK bank, letters or bank documents from sponsors, or a combination of all these things). You will have to show that you can support yourself financially without relying on the British welfare state or by working to fund your studies.

If you are staying for longer than six months, it is advisable to submit your documentation to the British Embassy/High Commission in your own country and get entry clearance (a visa) prior to arrival. Your status can still be challenged but you have the right to lodge an appeal and remain in Britain while your case is heard.»

England: Regler boarding schools må følge

Department for Education

Man ser de samme klagene fra internatskolene som man gjør fra utvekslingsbyråene når det gjelder regjeringens krav til dem. En artikkel i The Telegraph fra 2009 forteller om en school mistress som klager over måten skolene inspiseres på og reglene de må overholde. Det er identisk med det man har opplevd i USA hver gang Department of State har overholdt sine egne regler.

«Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills. We report directly to Parliament and we are independent and impartial. We inspect and regulate services which care for children and young people, and those providing education and skills for learners of all ages.» (Ofsted)

I tillegg til Ofsted har Department for Education inspeksjoner hos «association» skoler. Disse inspektørene er:

Før en skole godkjennes av Department of Education må den legge fram:

  • A plan showing the layout of the premises and accommodation of all buildings.
  • Detailed curriculum plans, schemes of work for every subject and year group taught and pupil assessment procedures.
  • A copy of the school’s written policies on:
  • Preventing bullying, following DfE advice ‘Preventing and Tackling   Bullying: Advice for school leaders and governors’
  • Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children who are pupils at the school which complies with DfE Guidance:
  •  “Safeguarding Children   and Safer Recruitment in Education” and “Dealing   with Allegations of Abuse against Teachers and Other Staff’;
  • Safeguarding and promoting the health and safety of pupils  at the school following DfE advice:
  •  ‘Health & safety: Department for education advice on legal duties and powers for local authorities, head teachers, staff and governing   bodies;
  • Promoting good behaviour amongst pupils setting out the sanctions   to be adopted in the event of pupil misbehaviour.
  • A copy of the school complaints procedures, as outlined in regulation 7 of The Education (Independent School Standards) (England) Regulations 2010 as amended by The education (Independent School Standards)   (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2012.

National MInimum Standards for Boarding Schools

BSA-Logo

Boarding Schools Association representerer internatskolene og har fått gjennom endringer i sin favør.

UK: Internatskole – framgangsmåte

bc
Elever utenfor en internatskole
Fra British Council site

Det finnes to måter å studere på i Storbritannia. Disse er å gå på boarding school (internatskole) eller å gå på dagskole. Av en eller annen grunn kalles også «boarding schools» «public schools».

Man trenger ikke å gå gjennom et utvekslingsbyrå for å kunne gå på internatskole. Det man må gjøre er:

  1. Finn ut hvor i Storbritannia du kunne tenke deg å reise til. Når du har gjort det kan du gå til Independent Schools Council og Which Boarding School for å lære mer om de ulike boardingskolene.
  2. Velg skole. Da er det viktig å se på pris og fag/aktiviteter. Skoleavgiften består av skolegang, aktiviteter og boutgifter mens aktiviteter utenfor skolen kommer i tillegg. Pass på å undersøke hva slags aktiviteter som er inkludert i prisen.
  3. Søk dere inn på skolen. Noen av skolene krever at man søker seg inn året i forveien mens andre tar det fortløpende. Normalt begynner man på skolen i begynnelsen av september.
  4. Om man er under 18 år, regnes man som barn i Storbritannia. Da forventes det at man skal ha tilgang til en verge (guardian). Når man reiser gjennom et utvekslingsbyrå fungerer denne som vergen. Reiser man utenom utvekslingsfirma finner man gode råd om UK Guardians her.

Om man velger utvekslingsbyrå for denne jobben må man være klar over at de ikke tilbyr skolegang hvor som helst. Den eneste utvekslingsorganisasjonen jeg vet om som tilbyr denne tjenesten er: EF (Education First).

UK: Hvem klager man til?

united_kingdom_political_mapProblemer kan oppstå mens dere er i Storbrittania. Noen av dem lar seg greit løse mens andre blir svært utfordrende for dere.

Uansett satser vi først og fremst på at alle parter er løsningsorienterte. Utvekslingseleven begynner med å henvende seg til vertsfamilien og/eller den lokale representanten.

Men HOLD ALLTID FORELDRENE DERES INFORMERTE. Det er bare dere som kan gi dem din egen versjon. Sørg for å sende dem kopi av all dokumentasjon og forsøk i så stor grad som mulig å få alt skriftlig. Det er det utvekslingsbyråene gjør når de krever at dere skal skrive under på såkalte «Agreements» i løpet av utvekslingsåret. Husk at dere allerede har undertegnet avtale to ganger før avreise.

Dersom ikke den lokale representanten hører på dere klag høyere opp. Enten gjør dere det eller så gjør foreldrene deres det. Jeg forstår godt om dere ikke tør gå videre med saken før dere kommer hjem. Alt for mange elever har fortalt meg historiene sine til at jeg har noen illusjoner igjen når det gjelder denne bransjen.

Om dere venter med å gå videre med saken, ta for all del bilder av forholdene. Behold alle papirer. Ta opp samtaler. Før logg. Send kopier til foreldrene deres.

Når dere kommer tilbake til Norge må dere klage INNEN det har gått en måned. Sjekk kontrakten deres så ser dere at de fleste utvekslingsfirmaene har denne klausulen.

England:

DEPARTMENT FOR EDUCATION har ansvaret for utvekslingselevene mens dere er i UK. Det er også dem man klager til både mens man er i UK og etter at man kommer tilbake til Norge. Ansvarlig person per 2014 Feb 18 er:

Mr. Nigel Fulton: nigel.fulton@education.gsi.gov.uk

The Office of the Children’s Commissioner: info.request@childrenscommissioner.gsi.gov.uk / Tel: 020 7783 8330

Litt nærmere utvekslingshjemmet er det lokale Council og det lokale politiet. Listen over Civic Offices finnes på GOV.UK Jeg vet helt sikkert at de kommer og undersøker hjemmet dere bor i.

Wales:

WELSH GOVERNMENT (Department for Education and Skills)

Minister for Education and Skills
Huw Lewis: Correspondence.Huw.Lewis@Wales.gsi.gov.uk

Children’s Commissioner for Wales: post@childcomwales.org.uk / Tel: 01792 765600

Scotland:

SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT (Department for Education and Lifelong Learning)

Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning: Michael Russell MSP

ceu@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People: inbox@sccyp.org.uk / Tel: 0131 558 3733

Northern Ireland:

NORTHERN IRELAND’S GOVERMENT (Department of Education)

The Education Minister: John Dowd

Northern Ireland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People: info@niccy.org / Tel: 028 9031 1616


Norwegian Embassy in the UK

  • E-mail: emb.london@mfa.no
  • Phone: +44 (0) 20 7591 5500 (Monday-Friday 10.00-11.00 – Wednesdays closed)

De har liste over det lokale konsulatet. Jeg anbefaler varmt at dere tar kontakt med dem mens dere er i UK. I USA er konsulatene stort sett behjelpelige om utvekslingseleven får store problemer.


In case of emergency in the UK, please phone:

Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) is dedicated to eradicating the sexual abuse of children. That means we are part of UK policing and very much about tracking and bringing offenders to account either directly or in partnership with local and international forces.)

 Child-Safe UK (child protection charity that aims to safeguard and prevent the abuse of children and young people away from home, particularly in the global youth travel sector)


Jeg forsøker å holde denne posten oppdatert.

1998-1999: Holiday Snapshots…Protecting Young People on European Exchanges from Abuse: Rapporten som satte utvekslingsindustrien på dagsordenen

(CHILD-SAFE TRAVEL-SAFE)

HOLIDAY SNAPSHOTS…PROTECTING YOUNG PEOPLE ON EUROPEAN

EXCHANGES FROM ABUSE (Research 1998 – 1999)

 

Chris Gould, Chairman

Child-Safe International Ltd

Avon and Somerset Constabulary,

PO Box 37, Valley Road, Portishead, BristolBS20 8QJ, United Kingdom

Tel: + 44 (0) 1275 816131  / Fax: + 44 (0) 1275 816655

email: chris.gould@avonandsomerset.police.uk website: www.child-safe.org.uk

Background

Legislative and regulatory concerns about the policing and control of child sex offenders, convicted or otherwise, has increased both nationally and internationally during the past three to five years.  High profile cases in both the United Kingdom and Belgium have focused attention on the best way of combating such offending.

In August 1996 the first “World Congress Against Commercial and Sexual Exploitation of Children” was organised in Stockholm.  Several countries subsequently introduced extra-territorial legislation to prosecute citizens who commit crime against children overseas (“sex tourism”) and an increasing interest has been shown in the sex offender “register” concept that was initiated in the USA.  Such a register was introduced in the UK under the Sex Offender Act in September 1997.  Concerns continue about how to prevent potential child sex offenders gaining employment to work with children.  Both the European Union and the Council of Europe have taken decisions with pan-European implications.

The British Government is currently looking at preventing unsuitable people working with children, under the auspices of an interdepartmental working group.  Legislation is expected to be introduced in the Spring of 2001 which will lead to the creation of a national Criminal Records Bureau, allowing criminal record checks and, in some cases, intelligence checks to be carried out by employers on such staff.  The Premier’s Department, NSW, Australia have been working on a similar piece of legislation earlier this year, entitled “Employment Screening Procedures for Child Protection”.

Following his innovative work with the “Holiday Snapshots…” research, Detective Superintendent Chris Gould has been collaborating with the interdepartmental working group on behalf of the Association of Chief Police Officers, to ensure that his findings are considered for any future legislation.

Introduction

 

Just when it seemed that child abuse had infested all possible “child” areas of our society, and that nothing else could shock us or present itself as “new”… along came some extraordinary revelations by two experienced British police officers.

Following exposure that a Spanish boy had been placed within a host family in the policing area of the Avon and Somerset Constabulary, United Kingdom, the father of whom was a known paedophile, Chris Gould and Kaye Jones set about examining school exchanges and the cultural, educational and language commercial business within Europe. They wanted to see exactly who, and what, regulates this multi-billion dollar enterprise.

In April last year, the Home Office awarded a grant to both officers, with a remit to identify the range and extent of child abuse on international visits, focusing primarily upon the European Union.  Their research project “Holiday Snapshots…Protecting Young People on European Exchanges from Abuse” has already gained international recognition  –  even prior to publication.  By April 1999, the officers were receiving the Police Research Award for innovation from the Home Secretary Jack Straw MP.  By now, this pioneering child protection work of the Avon and Somerset Constabulary, had become known as “Child-safe” and this specialist area of investigation was referred to as

“Child-Safe Travel-Safe”.

For over a year the officers travelled extensively looking at the best practice child protection procedures across the world.  The results of their research focus on homestays by young people under the age of 18 and have now been consolidated.  The findings were then segmented into a series of practical information books targeted at the main groups involved in organising or using international homestays.  The seven books provide practical guidelines on how to set up and monitor child safety policies whilst also providing a solid background of case histories from around the world which illustrate the extent and seriousness of this problem.  This paper can only hope to give a brief overview of the issues, findings and recommendations.  Further details of the work can be found by accessing the “Child-Safe” website (www.child-safe.org.uk), or by speaking with the authors.

Some things became clear almost immediately. No-one seemed to know the structure of the industry itself, such is its complexity and diversity.  The business is totally unregulated and few, if any, checks are being done in respect of host families, agents or organisations.  Crimes against children are happening and are either not being reported or the information is suppressed.

The research project was designed to capture anecdotal evidence from across Europe of cases where young people had experienced abuse in this way.  These examples were sought in order to establish the range of difficulties that young people were encountering, without speculating as to the scale of the problem unless records and interviews made it statistically possible.  This evidence would hopefully reinforce the need for legislation, regulation of controls to be put in place across the European Community.  At the very least it would foster debate as to the level of State intervention, raise awareness of the issues, improve self regulation and ultimately lead to enhanced safety and welfare conditions for young travellers.

Objectives

 

The project has two primary objectives:

  • To identify a sample of cases involving child abuse to or by foreign visitors within the European Community, following placements into host families by school exchanges, twinning or other educational or cultural visits.
  • To determine how the research findings can be used to assist European Governments, relevant travel organisations or other businesses, language schools, educational authorities or twinning associations in preventing the placement of young people on European exchanges in a home where they are likely to be at risk from abuse.

The project also has three hidden objectives:

  • Publicity, to ensure that parents and organisations are made aware of the potential risks inherent with such travel
  • To work towards the creation of appropriate legislation or regulation within the UK or Europe
  • To publish informative travel books/booklets to targeted audiences offering the best practice and guidance alternatives

Methodology (in brief)

 

à         Press strategy…release of information re research and cases uncovered

à         Personal interviews with victims, parents, organisers, agents, schools,

host families

à         Focus days held with specialists both in the UK  and abroad

à         Telephone interviews with organisations, victims etc

à         Questionnaires sent to host families, organisations and students

(10,000 – UK only)

à         Telephone questionnaire with 54 police forces UK and Channel Islands

à         Extensive literature searches, including internet search and document analysis

à         Visits to USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Belgium,

Spain etc

Research findings

It has been established that this “industry” is extremely diverse and complex, and for some twenty, thirty or even forty years it has existed without any form of regulation.  The standards within the businesses vary dramatically from those which have set up their own professional standards body to those ”cowboys” who seasonally set themselves up to make a fast dollar.  This can mean, for instance, that children are being placed within homestays that have never been visited, let alone checked.  There are many instances where extra children have turned up on the coach and organisers have resorted to knocking on doors randomly in order to find last minute hosts, some have even flicked through telephone directories, ringing locals who may be able to assist and at the same time earn some extra cash.

Within the first three months some 550 cases of abuse had been discovered, ranging from neglect through to emotional, physical and sexual abuse.  This was enough to indicate to the authors that there is a problem and from that time their efforts were concentrated on looking for best practice and guidance from which recommendations for change could be made.  Whilst the research considers all types of travel that young people under 18 years venture upon; whether it be staying in youth hostels, hotels, igloos or under canvas: 95% of all abuse cases uncovered happened within a homestay environment.  The number of recorded cases uncovered during this research now exceeds 1,000.

For many child protection professionals, the cases discovered will not be shocking.  They will not be different in any way to those already experienced within their own professional capacities.  However, one big difference is that of those first 550 cases which were Europe wide with a handful from New Zealand, Australia, Canada and America; only three had ever reported to any law enforcement agency.

Victims give many reasons for not reporting, for example; not being able to speak the language; putting up with the situation because it is only short stay; lack of understanding in relation to culture, practices or procedures; not having a parent or guardian close by or contactable, nor any other adult with whom they feel comfortable to disclose.  In many cases, the use of a telephone to either ring home or contact an adult supervisor or guide is restricted or made difficult by homestay rules.  In some situations telephone calls are forbidden.  Young people travelling abroad or away from home are vulnerable, some more than others.

If a report is made to agents or organisers, the young person is generally removed from the host family, but that is the full extent of the action taken, leaving an offender or suspect free to host again.

Whilst the research focused on cultural, educational and language visits made by the under 18 year olds travelling abroad, there was little, if any, safety, welfare or pastoral guidance being given by any organisation.  Since this work started in the UK the officers have worked closely with the Department for Education and Employment (DfEE), who, following consultation with the authors, have now published “Guidance on Pupil Health and Safety on School Visits” which includes advice about International Visits.  The British Incoming Tour Operators Association (BITOA) have also consulted the authors and produced a “Homestay Committee Report” giving advice for homestays.  The British Council, ARELS and BASELT have published some of the earlier pieces of guidance issued during this research.

The complexity and diversity of this industry, coupled with apparent under-reporting of incidents of abuse to the authorities, has resulted in law enforcement agencies having little, if any, intelligence or information on this area of criminality.  Limited intelligence and involvement, that is: until now. Law enforcement includes not only the police, but Customs and Excise, Immigration, Europol, Interpol, National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS) as well as prosecution lawyers.

Specific Cases

Cases range from children not being fed at all whilst on a visit, to those fed solely on such things as peanut butter or jam in order to save money.  Others have slept three to a bed, some sleeping under beds or in a cupboard under the stairs and others as young as seven or eight who have simply been left or abandoned and have quickly found themselves to be lost.

There have been cases where the host family circumstances have changed and visitors have been turned out of the home following domestic disputes or some who were not accepted into the home in the first instance.  Many children and young people have been victims of acquisitive crime with property or money being stolen.  Some have suffered verbal and racial abuse and we have heard many reports of young people who have been exposed to domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse by their hosts.

At the more sinister, thin of the wedge, there are known, or suspected, sex offenders or child abusers who have infiltrated the “industry” – either acting as hosts or attaining more prominent positions as language school teachers or even agents or organisers.  The researchers came across cases of known paedophiles who have been trafficking vulnerable young people from places like Albania into Europe.  At this time, it is difficult to determine the full extent of abuse or the level of such incursion.  Suffice to say, that what has been revealed is considered to be just the tip of the iceberg.

There are but a few known, reported cases that have subsequently been investigated and prosecuted.  In Perth, Western Australia, a 65 year old organiser was convicted less than two years ago of the sodomy, amongst other crimes, of a 14 year indigenous boy who was en route from the north to stay with a host family in the South West.  This man had been abusing vulnerable children on such cultural exchanges for many years.

In Minnesota, USA, A 17 year old French boy who stayed with a host family, was convicted of sexual assault of the 12 year old daughter of his hosts, following several days of molestation.

In Nottinghamshire, UK a host father was convicted of possession of pornographic videos following a disclosure by the young Spanish boy whom it is believed he was sexually attempting to groom.

Scale of the problem

 

The scale of this problem is unknown due to the inadequate records kept within Europe in respect of youth travel.  Essentially, there is no base line from which to begin calculations.  However, to give the issue some perspective, estimates from tourist records kept by the British Tourist Authority and the English Tourist Board, indicate that in 1998 some 4 million children under the age of 18 entered the UK. Of those, just over 1 million travelled on what are recorded as independent holidays or studies.

From a European search, the researchers estimate that in 1998 between 5 and 6 million children and young people travelled abroad on cultural, educational or language trips, the majority of which passed without incident.  Although impossible to say accurately, the officers’ professional view from the work conducted so far is that in total approximately 4-5% per annum are suffering some form of abuse.

There are some 60+ million school aged children in Europe, so the potential growth in this area of travel is huge.  Youth tourism already represents 20% of the world tourist market and this figure is growing.  In 1998, within the UK alone, student expenditure was in excess of £1 billion (including course fees, accommodation and travel).

To give a further example of the size and scale to this “industry”, the Federation of International Youth Travel Organisations (FIYTO) represent some 289 member organisations world-wide in 72 different countries.  Their turnover per annum is 6 billion US dollars, serving some 14 million young people travelling annually and selling over 6 million air and surface tickets.

Research Methodology

 

Within the United Kingdom the officers circulated

  • 5,280 host family questionnaires
  • 1,242 student questionnaires to international visitors within the UK
  • 574 questionnaires to school aged pupils (12-14 years)
  • 1,260 questionnaires to university students
  • 731 questionnaires to organisers

The return rate is at present in excess of 15%, however, responses continue to be received almost daily.

Following the implementation of a media strategy many individuals came forward and face to face interviews were conducted with victims, parents, organisers, agents, teachers and others.  An abundance of mail has been received from people with concerns together with supporters of this work and organisations looking to implement changes as well as many individuals who have suffered abuse whilst travelling in this way.

Experiments were conducted in various parts of the UK, and police checks were made on host families employed by certain organisations.  In one such experiment, 700 families were checked, 26 had serious convictions for offences such as supplying drugs, armed robbery, indecency offences, serious assaults and two known paedophiles were identified.

Numerous focus days have been held gathering experts together both in the UK and Spain.  Searches have been made, throughout Europe and beyond, including both literature trawls and the examination of travel statistics and existing legislation.  Meetings have taken place with Europeans from the travel industry, youth exchange, education, child protection charities, law enforcement and others both on a formal and informal basis.

Presentations have been made by the authors at both the House of Commons, UK, and the European Parliament in Brussels highlighting the concerns and problems within this area of youth and student travel. Ministers are now working towards airing these issues within the European Parliament Civil Liberties and Internal Affairs Committee.

Emerging facts from completed host family questionnaires

 

  • only 11.6% of host families were interviewed face to face
  • only 13% were obliged to supply references
  • around 10% were never visited by the agents or organisations nearly 10% of organisers making a home visit failed to check on students’ sleeping arrangements or facilities
  • over half were not asked to sign any form of contract
  • only 10.6% of host families received an unannounced visit
  • 61.5% work for language schools
  • only 25.5% of host families were asked if they would consent to a police check
  • only 10.9% were  required to look after students’ welfare
  • 25.2% of host families said that they had experienced “difficulties” when hosting
  • 21.2% of these said the organiser had been “unhelpful” or “very unhelpful” at these times
  • 93.9% of host families were given information about their student prior to their arrival
  • 65.6% were provided guidance and practical support from the organiser

 

 

Recommendations – the way forward

 

Earlier in this report the use of criminal records was alluded to.  The authors are clear, however, that at this time, this is not the answer.  A code of practice ensuring a minimum standard of operation must be implemented throughout this industry and criminal record checks may form part of this as an additional safeguard.

The following is a brief synopsis of the detail contained within the travel guide booklets which the authors have produced. The books themselves will contain suggested formats for written documentation, proformas of checklists, examples of forms and full explanations of the bullet points listed below.

  • Young people must be protected from harm and their general welfare promoted
  • Children have rights – this must be recognised and they must be treated with respect
  • Awareness of child protection issues should be raised throughout your organisation – consider addressing the following

– write a mission statement for your organisation

– ensure that you have a child protection policy

– identify a “Child Protection Officer”

  • Develop safety procedures which minimise the likelihood of children and young people being harmed and which enable organisers and others to respond effectively to accidents or suspected cases of abuse.
  • Empower children and young people and their parents

– give them information about the culture of the country in which they will stay

– tell them where they will be living

– give helpline numbers and emergency contact points

– give everyone involved in the trip an opportunity to feed back about their experiences

–  inform  parents of all arrangements and itineraries

  • Establish links with parents and other relevant organisations, both in this country and abroad
  • Create the right environment to ensure a safe and successful experience – the key points are

– Support

– Communication

– Information

– Preparation

  • Share information about any problems or concerns you may have about individuals or in general
  • with each other
  • between agencies

  • Develop good practice and
  • review and continue to progress and develop

  • hold regular seminars and invite people from all aspects of your  business

  • commercial groups who hold conferences should extend invitations to the voluntary sector and others who are involved in the same work

  • Make sure you have appropriate management practices in place

– raise your standards of child safety

– implement a preventative strategy– it is better to avoid problem than to risk

– safety of a young person

  • Ensure adequate pre-trip planning is conducted
  • consider making a risk assessment of the homestays into which young people will be placed
  • distribute bi-lingual help cards – in the visitor’s own language with the English equivalent

  • advise host families about possible requirements for insurance relating to both property and their vehicle

  • Implement proper training – host parents may be acting in loco parentis and they need to understand the implications of this, as well as your staff/employees
  • ensure a basic level of first aid

  • give adequate health and safety training

  • make sure they understand what to do if a child protection issue arises

  • record and evaluate incidents at homestays – and share the information with each

  • other and between agencies where appropriate

  • Leaders should be fully trained and aware of their responsibilities

  • Recruitment of host families – for instance, language schools in the UK can do the following
  • Contact Area Child Protection Committees to let them know you exist

  • Form a relationship with your Community Beat Officer

  • Subject access checks can currently be undertaken for a fee

  • An interdepartmental working group has been established to look at the following new pieces of legislation

  • Preventing unsuitable people working with children

  • Criminal Records Bureau

  • Check employee details against the DfEE List 99
  • Check employee details against the D H Consultancy Service
  • Define the role of a host family – all parties need to be aware of expectations
  • Address the suitability of current advertising for host families, photographs of children and some text phrases may be wholly inappropriate and attract the type of host
  • Screen Applicants
  • conduct interviews over the telephone and in person

  • make sure that every person who regularly stays within the household has been met

  • ask for a declaration to be signed by each member of the household stating there is no reason why that person should not have access to children and that they have no

  • criminal convictions

  • two people should conduct interviews wherever possible

  • check the identification of the household members – use the voters’ register

  • ask for references – and then follow them up

  • Check out accommodation
  • hosts should be made aware of the organisation’s terms and conditions

  • hosts should be aware of all relevant regulations, legislation and safety issues

  • an accommodation checklist should be completed

  • a host family application form and contract should be signed and dated

  • Remember
  • children and young people should always be listened to, given a sense of belonging and kept safe from harm

  • parents should be informed, supported and encouraged

  • staff volunteers who work with children and young people should be trained, supported and protected

European Conference, Bath 18-22 August 1999

 

Between 18 and 22 August 1999 invitations were extended to over 100 expert delegates from the 29 Council of Europe Countries.  These experts, from law enforcement, social services, health, youth travel, education and various children’s charities and non-governmental organisations, together with government and European Commission representatives, heard key note speeches and took part in inter-active workshop sessions. Delegates were given an opportunity to critique the work of the authors and present their personal and organisational perspectives in relation to the issues raised.

The conference concluded with each of the European experts endorsing and validating both the work and the research findings.  Undertakings were given that the Child-Safe Travel-Safe guidance would be promoted in each of the Council of Europe countries and lobbying of governments would continue.  Through this inaugural network, delegates committed themselves to continue to work in their respective countries, supporting each other to the goal of enhanced welfare, safety and pastoral care of children and young people engaged in international travel.

 

 

UK Launch – House of Commons, 11 October 1999

 

On 11 October 1999 the Child-Safe Travel-Safe booklets were launched at the House of Commons, London, by Home Office Minister Charles Clarke MP.  Other dignitaries present included Senator Landon Pearson, Advisor on Children’s rights, Canadian Senate; Diana Lamplugh, Suzy Lamplugh Trust; Gordon Blakely, British Council; together with representatives from the Department for Education and Employment, The Federation of International Youth Travel Organisations and children’s charities such as Childline and the NSPCC.

Conclusion

 

You would not send your child to a house at the end of your street if you knew nothing about the person living there.  Yet on the strength of a glossy brochure, the payment in some cases of vast sums of money, and an assumption that someone else has asked the right questions, we send our children thousands of miles across the world to stay with strangers.

The companies, organisations and individuals that abuse this blind trust cannot be allowed to continue to profit from it and we must all take responsibility for the care and safety of our young people.

Vanlige problemer: Vertsfamilien dysfunksjonell, overfylt, lite mat

Plankton skriver:

Hei! En av mine aller beste venner dro til England med EF i høst og var der i 3 uker før hun kom hjem igjen. Moren var tilbakestående, familien fattig og hun fikk nesten ikke mat. De brydde seg ikke om henne i det hele tatt og brukte henne mest  som ekstrainntekt. Etter mye om og men fikk hun også byttet, men da kom hun til et slags hjem hvor en dame hadde laget  buisness av å ha utvekslingsstudenter. Hun måtte bo med 4 andre jenter på samme rom og ingen brydde seg om henne i det hele tatt.. Så tviler ikke på din historie! Plankton

VAT 3.5: What are suitable travel, reception and care arrangements states that under-age children are to be provided with satisfactory care arrangements where the child’s welfare whilst in the UK is imperative to the officers of the Immigration Office.

According to Working Together to Safeguard Children A guide to inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children March 2013 safeguarding the child is the responsibility of all professionals and youth workers who work with children.

Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility 9. Everyone who works with children – including teachers, GPs, nurses, midwives, health visitors, early years professionals, youth workers, police, Accident and Emergency staff, paediatricians, voluntary and community workers and social workers – has a responsibility for keeping them safe.

According to the Childrens Act of 1989 concerns about maltreatment should be reported to local authorities if there is reasonable suspicion that a child is suffering significant harm.

UK: Exchange student to Isle of Thanet: Margate, Broadstairs, Ramsgate

Travelling to other countries as a foreign exchange student is a matter of trust. Both the student and the parents trust that the company they are travelling with want to provide the student with the best home possible and that the student will be sent to schools that uphold at least an average standard. One of the places I have discovered many students have been placed in difficult circumstances is on the Isle of Thanet.

Ideally, the foreign exchange companies should have up-to-date information about the places where they send our kids, but reality shows something else. So I decided I would check out the complaints I had received and see what the reality of the Isle of Thanet was. All I had to do was spend a little time on the net and information flowed my way.

The first thing I did was check Wikipedia: Ramsgate, Margate og Broadstairs are the three main towns on the Isle of Thanet. The whole area struggles with seasonal work, poor health and a recession. Out of 324 districts Thanet has been placed on number 295. The local authorities are concerned about the high unemployment numbers and have invested a lot of money in different projects – one of these being education.

A-Levels schools in South Thanet are:

Areas that ought to worry you:

I also discovered a lot of information that locals shared about where they recommended/did not recommend you live. Leo Mckinstry is one of these people.

In 2012 he wrote and article called «Margate one of the world’s top ten resorts? Trust me, it’s East Germany with  wind farms«. In it he talks about his family’s move to the area in 2006 and their views on the city. His claim is that out of the three towns Broadstairs is the favored one while Margate is the least recommended place to live.

Most deprived areas
Within Thanet, the most deprived wards include Cliftonville West and Margate

If you get sent to: West Margate Central, North Margate Central, North Cliftonville West, Central Cliftonville West or East Cliftonville West you are being sent to trouble spots. In these areas criminal activities happen out in the open.

Sadly, some of you or someone you know is going to get sent to just such an area. Their representative or home could be terrible. Of course, most of you will have a good time but for those of you who don’t please try to get help as soon as possible. In the UK you can contact Child-Safe. Part of their job is to take care of foreign exchange students.


Various articles:

2013/2014: Utsatte områder/regioner i England

Most deprived in England
Animation for richest and poorest areas of England
Alistair Rae, 2011

Som dere ser av bildet fra animasjonen er det mulig å finne ut av hvor i England man bør takke nei til å reise som utvekslingselever. Chris Gould fra Child-Safe UK er ganske åpen om at det er en del familier i England som tar inn utvekslingselever på grunn av pengene. Det er ikke den kulturelle utvekslingen som er viktigst for dem men den økonomiske hjelpen i en vanskelig hverdag.

Noe som de fleste burde kjenne til er det at økonomi i et område henger sammen med kvaliteten på skolene, helsetilbudet og kriminalstatistikken. Områder med dårlig økonomi har naturlig nok et dårligere tilbud for ungdommen og en del mer voldskriminalitet enn velstående områder. De av dere som har blitt sendt til enkelte områder i Thanet i Kent i England har blitt kjent med dette fenomenet.

Ifølge Department for Communities and Local Government ligger områdene med de høyeste fattigdomstallene i:

  • Liverpool,
  • Middlesbrough,
  • Manchester,
  • Knowsley,
  • Hull,
  • Hackney og
  • Tower Hamlets

Kredittselskapet Experian har skapt et interaktivt kart basert på innsamlede data. I denne artikkelen forklarer de hvordan de har gått fram. Bildet under tar dere til den interaktive siden. Trykk inn stedet dere skal bli sendt til og se hvordan de ligger an på fattigdomsskalaen. En ting Experian har funnet er det at:

Der man er mest utsatte for fattigdom er: Middlesborough
Der det sannsynligvis bor flest fattige: Hull
Der man er mest utsatte for arbeidsløshet: Newham

Experian poverty maps of England
Experians interaktive fattigdomskart over England

Utvekslingselevers erfaringer

CSFES har en database som vi legger forholdene inn på og bruker dem som grunnlag for nedenstående eksempler:

  • Loftsrom uten varme og med knust vindu.
  • Ikke lov å tenne lys på rommet.
  • Lite eller ingen varme om vinteren.
  • Matrestriksjoner.
  • Eleven må handle mat til seg selv og familien.
  • Dårlig omsorg ved sykdom.
  • Arbeidsledighet.
  • Kriminalitet i den grad at det er umulig å gå ut om kvelden og jenter er redde for å bli voldtatte.
  • Eleven blir ranet.
  • Eleven blir slått ned.
  • Kjærester/barn/vertsforeldre som driver med dop og involverer eleven i salg.
  • Skittent hjem og psykisk ustabile vertsforeldre (henger kanskje sammen).
  • Skolen er en vits.

 

graph
Burglary and violent crime by region: England and Wales
Data source: British Crime Survey (BCS)

Skjemaet over viser hvordan fordelingen er av innbrudd og voldskriminalitet.

Hvor kan du dra?

Hvordan finne ut om området man skal reise til:

La oss ta Thanet som eksempel. Det er en by med mange postkoder og derfor mange mulige tall. om man går inn på UK Crime Stats kan man søke på postkode/nabolag, politikontor/navn på politibetjent osv. Jeg skriver inn Thanet og en lang liste over mulige nabolag kommer opp. Man kan da se at f.eks. Eastcliff, Thanet er mer belastet enn Viking, Thanet. Går man inn på Middlehaven, Middlesbrough dukker de røde tallene opp. Ser dere på kartene, ser dere også nabolagsfordelingen.

De røde områdene må dere for all del ikke dra til, mens de blå tallene burde være ganske greie. Gule områder?? Vel det er jo grunn til å tenke seg om da.

UK: Secondary school / (Lenker for å sjekke skolens status)

Skolesystemet i UK er ganske forskjellig fra det norske. Der borte er det obligatorisk med skole fram til man er 16 – eller t.o.m. 10 klasse. I tillegg er det forskjeller mellom landene i Storbritannia. Unionen er ganske stor og kvaliteten på skolene er enorm. Dette er noe som vil spille inn på om fagene deres blir godkjente. Som lånekassen sier  så er det deres/ foreldrenes ansvar å komme inn på en skole som kan godkjennes her i Norge. Men dere har ikke eneansvaret. Nå er det slik at utvekslingsorganisasjonen:

h) skal ha rutiner for å bistå elevene ved behov med å innhente nødvendig dokumentasjon om utdanningssystemet i det aktuelle landet og/eller innholdet i opplæringen eleven planlegger å ta, i forbindelse med elevens søknad om forhåndstilsagn om godkjenning av tidligere bestått opplæring i utlandet etter forskrift til opplæringslova § 1-16 eller forskrift til privatskolelova § 5a-3,

Etter fylte 16 år går man på noe som kalles post-16 Schools:

  • AS and A levels
  • Advanced Diplomas
  • BTEC (Business & Technology Education Council)
  • International Baccalaureate
  • Cambridge Pre-U

AS og A-Levels tar man både på public Schools (private skoler) og State Schools. AS Levels tar ca. 1 år å fullføre. A-Levels kan sammenlignes med 2. og 3. klasse i videregående. Fagene som tilbys ligger oftest innenfor enten realfagene, samfunnsfagene  eller språkfagene for studieforberedende kompetanse. Det er her de fleste utvekslingselevene havner.

Cambridge Pre-U er for de skikkelig smarte. Dette er AS og A Levels på et høyt nivå. Er du ute etter en utfordring, er dette veien å gå. Fordelen med å velge Cambridge Pre-U er at pensum er lagt opp for internasjonale elever. Karakterer gis fra A til E (som på  universitetene her i Norge). «There is freedom to choose subject combinations without constraint. To qualify for the Diploma, students study at least three Principal Cambridge Pre-U subjects from a choice of 26.  They also complete an Independent Research Report and a Global Perspectives portfolio. Students may take more than three Principal subjects if they wish.» (CIE) Man må regne med å jobbe masse.

BTEC ligner mer på yrkesfagene her i Norge og man kan gå på  diverse skoler for å få sitt diplom. Det er flere nivåer i et BTEC  studium og man regner at Level 1 tar ett år og Level 2 tar ett år til (om man studerer fulltid). Det går også an å studere for sitt BTEC  diplom samtidig som man tar A-Levels. BTEC tilbys i mange land i Europa.

International Baccaulaureate er noe som også tilbys i Norge. På linken finner man informasjon om hvilke skoler både her og i Storbritannia det er snakk om. Om det er veien man vil gå må man passe på at man kommer inn på riktig skole.

VAT3.12 How do I check a school’s status for an exchange visit?

If  an ECO is  concerned that the school to which the exchange is being made is not a bona fide institution – that is, that it is not offering education to a standard required by relevant education legislation – a check can be made on the following websites (no password or additional authority is needed to access them):


Kilder: