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So far Tom Perry has created 94 blog entries.

Remaning silent about child abuse can’t be an option – Times Scotland 21.9.19

The full article as it appeared in the Times is here.

Here is the pre-edited draft sent to The Times which contains important additional facts and supporting data :

‘It’s all different now’ is the default refrain from those who today are responsible for safeguarding in institutional settings such as education, sport, healthcare and faith. The amount of time spent by children in these operationally complex places is second only to time spent with their families. But the assertion begs the question, how is it all different now when today there is still no statutory obligation on ‘professionals’ working in positions of trust to report known or suspected abuse of a child to the authorities for independent assessment? It seems governments are prepared to rely merely only on an ‘expectation’ that ‘professionals’ will refer such concerns. But this arrangement is demonstrably unreliable. Data shows that when mandatory reporting is introduced to these settings, almost double the number of children are placed into safety who would otherwise be left to an unknown fate.

The majority of jurisdictions on all four continents have some form of mandatory reporting law. For example 72% Asia, 77% Africa, 86% Europe and 90% of the Americas (Daro.D World Perspectives on Child Abuse 7th ed. International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect 2006. p26). What is the purpose of a statutory requirement to report suspicions that a child is being abused?

  • To make professionals report suspicions in instances in which they would not normally do so.
  • To protect those who do report suspicions made in good faith which are not then validated in law.
  • To gain redress for injuries sustained after a professional had been made aware of suspicions or problems, but after they have chosen not to take the matter further.

You’ll notice how relevant these points are to the child abuse perpetrated at Celtic Boys Club and Chelsea FC.  What possibility is there of holding anyone to account for failing to report concerns when shamefully there’s no law to prosecute those who remain silent? When law is introduced, the cultural approach to safeguarding changes quickly.

Following the extension of mandatory reporting to teachers in New South Wales, a research article by David Lamond was published in 1989 by Child Abuse and Neglect. It was titled ‘The Impact of Mandatory Reporting Legislation on Reporting Behaviour in New South Wales,’ and it revealed that on the introduction of law, alongside a rise in the percentage of referrals from teachers (11.1% of total to 15.8%), there was a decrease in referrals from the public (52% to 47%) suggesting the existence of a correlation between the two. However when teachers suspected abuse they accurately detected the type of abuse 54% of the time and detected the child was subject to some form of abuse 67% of the time.  Members of the public had much lower substantiation rates 36-38% confirmed as type of abuse and 47-50% as some form of abuse. It indicates mandatory reporting by ‘professionals’ produces more referrals of greater accuracy. A good outcome for children and the agencies whose role it is to investigate.

More recent data from multiple jurisdictions reveals that well-designed mandatory reporting supports staff and benefits children in their care. It’s considered a vital component of functioning safeguarding. So what possesses Government to persist with ‘discretionary reporting’ in these complex settings for which there is a dearth of supporting evidence?

August 22nd, 2019|

Top 10 Myths About Clergy Abuse in the Catholic Church (Psychology Today) 1/8/19 and a reply from Tim Lennon the President of SNAP

A ‘ping’ notified us of an article in Psychology Today (1/8/19) titled “Top 10 Myths About Clergy Abuse in the Catholic Church.”  1) It doesn’t happen?  Not quite, but the article by Thomas G Plant Ph.D., ABPP  suggests it’s de minimis.

We decided to email Tim Lennon the President of Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (“SNAP”) to seek his opinion  and invited him to respond, particularly as Dr Plant is an American academic  :

Reply to Church Apologist :

(more…)

August 4th, 2019|

IICSA Anglican Hearing 3/7/19 – Observation about the work being undertaken by the Social Care Institute of Excellence for the Church of England

On day three of Anglican Hearing at the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, Dr Sheila Fish gave evidence on the work the Social Care Institute of Excellence is doing for the Church of England.

On the important matter of ‘audits’ that SCIE have been commissioned to undertake in the 42 dioceses of the Church, we alighted on the following comments made by Dr Fish :

The approach we take with audits is flavoured with the Learning Together methodology. So that Learning Together method is SCIE’s model for initially conducting incident reviews …….

Dr Fish continued :  (more…)

July 10th, 2019|

The Disclosure and Barring Service isn’t working reliably. How are unmade ‘mandatory’ referrals to the DBS discovered?

The Disclosure and Barring Service  (“DBS”) is often mistakenly oversold as a functioning barrier that reliably stops perpetrators working with children and vulnerable adults. It is almost certain the DBS does not see itself in this way. When it is made to work effectively it needs to be part of a functioning safeguarding framework that has to include Mandatory Reporting of known or suspected abuse by Regulated Activities in England and Wales. Scotland would also benefit from MR – Northern Ireland has had a form of mandatory reporting since 2005.

The DBS was formed in 2012 by merging the functions of the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. The DBS started operating on 1 December 2012 from offices in Liverpool and Royal Wootton Bassett. Its equivalent agencies are Disclosure Scotland in Scotland and Access Northern Ireland.  (more…)

June 10th, 2019|

Cardinal Vincent Nichols r4Sunday 21/4/19. Child abuse – a straight answer to a straight question is outside the Cardinal’s repertoire

On 21st April Cardinal Vincent Nichols was interviewed on BBC Sunday Programme. He either  blanked or sidestepped questions on child abuse in the Catholic Church. Our post concentrates on this aspect of the interview including the cover up of child abuse in the Archdiocese of Birmingham where Nichols was Archbishop from 2000 – 2009. The Archdiocese was part of IICSA’s Catholic investigation undertaken – Nichols gave evidence. (more…)

April 25th, 2019|

The cut n’ paste safeguarding policy at Crewe Alexandra Football Club needs to be scrapped. Here’s why

We have reviewed two core components of the Crewe Alexandra Football Club safeguarding policy: (i) the child protection and safeguarding policy and, (ii) the whistleblowing policy. We provide a third document showing the email exchanges needed to secure the policies from the club.

The whistleblowing policy is key because in England there is no legislation that requires employees and/or volunteers who have responsibility for the care of children in a ‘Regulated Activity‘ (a football club academy for example) to report known or suspected abuse to the statutory authorities. Anyone who chooses to report is by default a whistleblower with little legal protection. Furthermore it’s discretionary to report a safeguarding concern. No law is broken by  a member of staff who chooses to not report a concern to the local authority for independent assessment that perhaps, only many years later when the child has disclosed abuse in adulthood, secures a criminal conviction.

Please read the conclusions on the first page of the safeguarding policy review below. 

To the extent safeguarding works in any setting, it does so thanks to good staff trying their best with a legislative framework that simply cannot function effectively within Regulated Activities. The design and delivery of any safeguarding policy is vitally important and reveals the extent to which safeguarding is embedded in the culture of  the setting.

Our reviews of:

The CAFC Safeguarding Policy 

The CAFC Whistleblowing Policy

Emails needed to secure the Crewe Alexandra policies 

In 2018 a representative of Mandate Now provided evidence to the Independent Football Review led by Clive Sheldon QC.

(The policy in the review was current at the time of going to print  10/12/18)
March 21st, 2019|

The Chair of the National Safeguarding Panel @churchofengland attempting to sell a counterfeit suggestion that mandatory reporting exists within the Church.

Meg Munn, the recently appointed Chair of the National Safeguarding Panel of the Church of England, appeared on Radio 4 Sunday programme on the 17th March 2019. The peg for her contribution was the appalling story of Bishop of Chester, one of the 26 Spiritual Lords who contribute to the formulation of legislation in the House, failing to report to the statutory authorities abuse perpetrated by Rev. Gordon Dickenson which Dickenson wrote to him about in 2009.  Dickenson was convicted earlier this month of eight counts of sexual assault after pleading guilty to abusing a boy during the 1970s inside a church hall and even his vicarage.

Here is the interview with Ed Stourton.  In the first minute, Ms Munn provided clear opinion on what should now happen with this matter. Ed Stourton then read an extract from a letter sent to Andrew Graystone by the Bishop of Chester. Below we provide the transcript of the interview with Ms Munn from @1’39” onwards. Our observations are interpolated into the copy under ‘comment’.  Emboldening and italicisation are ours. (more…)

March 19th, 2019|

How much does Barnardo’s really care for vulnerable children? | Why did it sign an Independent Advocacy Contract with the Youth Justice Board at Medway in which it agreed to not refer child protection concerns to Local Authority?

In 2013 the children’s charity Barnado’s entered into a contract with the Youth Justice Board  to provide independent advocacy for children at the Medway Secure Training Centre in which the charity agreed not to refer any child protection concerns arising in the setting to the local authority (Kent).  What does this tell us about the charity’s commitment to vulnerable children and just how safe are children it advocates for and protects today?

Barnardo’s looks conflicted between protecting children and its cherished relationship with Government and the public sector. Agreeing a contract that obliges it to not report child protection concerns to the Local Authority hits rock bottom. But having reached it, Barnardo’s breaks out the Kango hammer and starts digging again.  (more…)

February 22nd, 2019|

Lawn Tennis Association Safeguarding remains dysfunctional

The LTA Chief Executive Scott Lloyd said on the 25/1/19: “the LTA has now undertaken a root and branch review of its safeguarding” and “is committed to having the best safeguarding procedures possible at every level of the game.” Our review of the LTA safeguarding reveals dysfunctional safeguarding has been retained despite Mr Lloyd’s assertions.

Our review is available here.

Little reliance can be placed on the County Association Safeguarding Template policy. In England, Wales and Scotland there is still no statutory obligation to report either known or suspected abuse to the Local Authority (or the police in appropriate circumstances) for independent assessment. LTA policy provides no commitment even to consult with external agencies, such as the local Authority Designated Officer (“LADO”) for advice and/or guidance, when a safeguarding concern arises.

The LTA claims a child is a person under the age of 18 years. The proposed extension of the Position of Trust Law to sports coaches was put on hold by the Government many months ago. Here are the roles to which the law currently applies. Sports coaches are not included. The proposed extension can only make a very small difference to functioning safeguarding in Regulated Activities as we explained in this press release. 

The LTA policy is a Potemkin village. Like all safeguarding policies, its foundation is ‘statutory guidance’ issued by the Department for Education to assist Regulated Activities, such the LTA, deliver law effectively. But there is no law to report known or suspected child abuse. As a result the term ‘statutory guidance’ is little more than an oxymoron. The reality is, the head of an LTA affiliated tennis club/centre who has statutory responsibility for safeguarding cannot be held to account by safeguarding legislation for failures to refer known or suspected child abuse to the statutory agencies. Furthermore, absence of legislation means staff who make a report in good faith, have no protection against legal action if the report they make is not validated in law.

The LTA is free to exceed the de minimis expectations of ‘statutory guidance’ to produce a safeguarding policy on which greater reliance can be placed. Unfortunately it has made no attempt to address the legislative vacuum in order to support staff and better protect young players in LTA care. What hope for culture change?

January 27th, 2019|

Lawn Tennis Association Safeguarding remains dysfunctional  

The LTA Chief Executive Scott Lloyd said on the 25/1/19: “the LTA has now undertaken a root and branch review of its safeguarding” and “is committed to having the best safeguarding procedures possible at every level of the game.” Our review of the LTA safeguarding reveals dysfunctional safeguarding has been retained despite Mr Lloyd’s assertions.

Our review is available here.

Little reliance can be placed on the County Association Safeguarding Template policy. In England, Wales and Scotland there is still no statutory obligation to report either known or suspected abuse to the Local Authority (or the police in appropriate circumstances) for independent assessment. LTA policy provides no commitment even to consult with external agencies, such as the local Authority Designated Officer (“LADO”) for advice and/or guidance, when a safeguarding concern arises.

The LTA claims a child is a person under the age of 18 years. The proposed extension of the Position of Trust Law to sports coaches was put on hold by the Government many months ago. Here are the roles to which the law currently applies. Sports coaches are not included.

The LTA policy is a Potemkin village. Like all safeguarding policies, its foundation is ‘statutory guidance’ issued by the Department for Education to assist Regulated Activities, such the LTA, deliver law effectively. But there is no law to report known or suspected child abuse. As a result the term ‘statutory guidance’ is little more than an oxymoron. The reality is, the head of an LTA affiliated tennis club/centre who has statutory responsibility for safeguarding cannot be held to account by safeguarding legislation for failures to refer known or suspected child abuse to the statutory agencies. Furthermore, absence of legislation means staff who make a report in good faith, have no protection against legal action if the report they make is not validated in law.

The LTA is free to exceed the de minimis expectations of ‘statutory guidance’ to produce a safeguarding policy on which greater reliance can be placed. Unfortunately it has made no attempt to address the legislative vacuum in order to support staff and better protect young players in LTA care. What hope for culture change?

About Mandate Now

Mandate Now is a pressure group that since 2005 has led the agenda for the introduction of mandatory reporting of known and suspected abuse by those employed in Regulated Activities (schools, faith, sport, scouts, cadets, healthcare). Over 200,000 people signed the Mandate Now petition  which called for the introduction of the law which exists in the majority of jurisdictions on all four continents. Mandate Now is a participant in the mandatory reporting seminars that help by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.

January 27th, 2019|