Thursday, 7 November 2013

Mandatory Reporting Law - With Kids Response

There has been much debate over the past couple of days in regards to Mandatory Reporting Law.

Keir Starmer, former Director of Public Prosecutions, has reignited calls for mandatory reporting which would mean all professionals would have to report suspicions of child abuse or face legal consequences.

Mandatory reporting is already law in Canada, Australia, Denmark and in several US states including Florida, where a failure to report such cases can result in a £600, 000 fine.

Since the violent death of four-year old Daniel Pelka, campaigners have also called for a law to ensure teachers and carers who spot bruising and extreme hunger in children must, by law, report these signs of abuse.

Mr Starmer was on the BBC's Panorama programme and stated that Britain should have a 'very straightforward, simple scheme' that would 'change the law and close a gap that's been there for a very long time'.

We hear from a member of the With Kids team in response to calls for the mandatory reporting law:

'The issue isn't mandatory reporting, it is really about what action is taken after reporting. Many, many reports of neglect etc are not acted upon because Social Work have insufficient resources.'
Let us know your thoughts on Mandatory Reporting Law?

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1 comment:

  1. Mandatory reporting is intended to deter senior management in schools and elsewhere from suppressing reports in order to protect the reputation of the institution.

    Just one school which does this can result in multiple abusers congregating there and their abuse going unchecked for years or decades. A good example is St Benedict's School Ealing, where abuse went unreported for 60 years, and involved at least 8 known abusers and I would estimate hundreds or perhaps thousands of victims.

    So far at that school one monk (formerly the junior school headmaster) and two other former teachers have been convicted. The former Abbot of the associated monastery (also a former teacher) is on the run from the police with a European Arrest Warrant out for him, and alleged abuses by four others have been the subject of civil claims against the school and/or have been placed on List 99.

    Since social services were unaware, they didn't do anything. Social services can't act on cases they haven't been told about.

    It wasn't until last month that the school finally published a safeguarding policy that removed "wriggle room" in the form of discretion as to whether they chose to report abuse to the authorities.

    And non-reporting is very common. The following trials in recent years have resulted in convictions of teachers. The common factor in all these cases is that the school was aware of complaints of abuse and did not report them to the authorities, instead addressing the matter "in house", which has the effect of protecting nobody except the abuser.

    Fr David Pearce (St Benedict's School Ealing)
    Bruce Roth (Wellington College & Kings School Rochester)
    Michael Brewer (Chethem's School Manchester)
    Richard White (Downside School)
    Stephen Skelton (St Benedict's School and West Hill Park School Titchfield)
    Jeremy Forrest (Bishop Bell School Eastbourne)

    and others too numerous to mention.

    One can only wonder at how many more cases have gone undetected because schools or other institutions have chosen not to report.

    I urge you to change your stance and join the @MandateNow coalition and sign their petition