NAPAC and four leading survivor charities are petitioning Michael Gove MP to introduce mandatory reporting of suspected + known child abuse. Please sign
If you work with children, and see one of your charges being abused or even raped, you might think you and your employer had a legal obligation to report it to the authorities. Not so. There is no legal requirement on anyone working with minors in England (Wales or Scotland) to report allegations or witnessed abuse of a child, including rape, to either the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) or the police.
Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Education
It is vital for the future protection of children that the Department for Education introduces legislation requiring all ‘Regulated Activities’ inform the LADO immediately of all incidents of known or suspected child abuse. The objective is to reduce the number of victims of abuse in these settings who go onto experience the lifelong consequences of unreported crime at great cost to the State.
We are requesting you urgently draft legislation that reflects the reality of our society rather than the make believe world that the legislation addresses in which professionals know best, most people do the right thing and everyone would protect a child at risk of harm. The cases that have come to public attention over the past year (Savile Inquiries, Rochdale SCR, Hillside First School SCR and Mid Staffs Hospital Inquiry report) clearly evidence that this is not the case. The current discussions around strengthening the ‘whistle blowing’ legislation have also highlighted the many conflicting interests and pressures that stop people reporting serious concerns but ‘whistle blowing’ legislation on its own will achieve little. Not having legislation that reflects these realities means staff are currently unsupported when faced with the difficult task of referring internally, and then the administration of the Regulated Activity is conflicted when deciding whether or not to inform the LADO of the worst possible news for any institution.
Only when we acknowledge that the objective aim of protecting children can so easily be undermined by the subjective realities of the real world, will we begin to develop intelligent legislation and guidance. It needs to cut through the dysfunctional dynamics, negative culture and careless indifference that surround child abuse, and face up to the realities of the crime. When this is achieved we will begin to address the shocking scale of unreported child abuse in this country which destroys the lives of many tens of thousands of children every year at incalculable long-term costs to society.
Our European neighbour the Republic of Ireland has just introduced mandatory reporting, an example we urgently need to replicate for the protection of our children.