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So far Tom Perry has created 66 blog entries.

#MR Bill Underway for USA Athletes following Senate Hearing and Grey-Thompson Now Wants It

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson’s – ‘Duty of Care in Sport’ report is published today.

A key paragraph is on p.20 under  in ‘Theme 5’- safeguarding.

Mandatory reporting

It should be recognised that organisations that work with children and vulnerable adults can attract individuals who will seek to exploit and abuse them – there is a need for continual vigilance. The government should therefore consider extending a Duty to Report to all sports organisations. This would mean that if a person knows, or has suspicion of, any abuse taking place, they must report it to the relevant body for action to be taken.

You can download it here.

The report makes clear why mandatory reporting is needed to improve the safeguarding culture in sport. The following paragraph describes the current challenges that suggest sport may not be capable of self motivated reform.

Culture

Contributors to the review reported that it was often difficult to challenge the programmes that they were in, and hard to know where to go if they want to make a complaint about behaviour. It was also clear that people did not want to be seen to be causing trouble or jeopardise their sporting career, and felt they had little power to bring about change. Many reported that bullying behaviour could at least sometimes be the ‘norm’ in sport, and that they felt that they just had to “get on with it”. This suggests that in some areas the culture is not the positive one that it should be. It is vital that participants know where they can go to make a complaint or blow the whistle on poor behaviour. Without second and, critically, third party assurance, the ability to make substantial change is limited.

Let’s hope the government takes notice, but such is the prejudice against mandatory reporting  by Government, police, LSCB’s Social Workers, teaching unions and the increasingly out of touch NSPCC,  all supporting the Government’s addiction to the failed status quo, that one fears Baroness Grey-Thompson may be howling into the wind.

Meanwhile in the USA :

Star gymnasts testify to Senate judiciary committee about sex abuse scandal

  • Unites States Olympic Committee (‘USOC’) apologizes for ‘failing the people it was supposed to protect’
  • Senator Chuck Grassley criticizes USA Gymnastics for declining to testify
  • Dominique Moceanu describes a ‘culture of fear’ and ‘humiliation’

A current mandatory reporting Bill proposed and sponsored by members of the US Senate judiciary committee will require sports governing bodies under the USOC umbrella to report allegations of sexual abuse to law enforcement and train employees on how to handle situations. The statute of limitations for victims to sue their abusers would also be extended.

Each of the gymnasts giving testimony confirmed the introduction of Mandatory Reporting of known and suspected abuse would positively impact the protection of children in sport.

The conditions for elite sportspeople are almost identical in the UK, with the role of staff and coaches being vitally important.  If mandatory reporting is now seen as an essential component of functioning child protection in sport within the USA, how can it not be in the UK?  We would welcome the British Government drawing the same conclusions from the same evidence and introduce mandatory reporting in the UK.

Well designed designed Mandatory Reporting in sport is essential. We said so in our submission to the consultation – Reporting and Acting on Child Abuse and Neglect which we helped secure. We also included draft legislation which specified sport as a Regulated Activity to be included. We await the outcome from the Home Office.   

April 21st, 2017|

Mandatory reporting laws for child sexual abuse are essential for kids and society: Professor Ben Mathews

Professor Ben Mathews is a researcher in the Australian Centre for Health Law Research at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. He has led some of the largest studies ever undertaken into mandatory reporting laws for child sexual abuse.

In the UK, 18% of girls and 5% of boys experience contact sexual abuse (one in eight children), and the figures are even higher for all kinds of sexual abuse. The mean age of onset is 9-10. Most children unlucky enough to suffer sexual abuse are unable to tell anyone, because they are terrified of the abuser’s power, have been threatened, feel ashamed, depend on the abuser, or are too young to understand it. (more…)

March 24th, 2017|

Child Protection in Football – An Article in The Independent Reliant on Hearsay and Hope

On Wednesday 1st March Ian Herbert, Chief Sports Writer for the Independent, under the banner Football is not rife with child abusers, so it is time for the Offside Trust to explain what they are for,’  writes a eulogy to the FA’s current child protection framework. Is it right to do so? We examine his claims and the foundations on which they are grounded.

The piece informs us: (more…)

March 6th, 2017|

West Berks SCB – The Unconvincing Serious Case Review into Child Sexual Abuse at Kennet School

The report was released by West Berkshire Safeguarding Children’s Board at noon today. 

A copy of the review is here: Kennet School Serious Case Review

This is the Mandate Now review of this opaque production.

The SCR doesn’t actually describe what failings have occurred and whether as a result the abuse could have been prevented or could have been halted earlier than it was. (more…)

February 1st, 2017|

Alternative Perspective on NSPCC – closing ‘Loopholes in Sport’ VictoriaLIVE 26.1.17

  • The NSPCC suggestions for changes to the DBS system will only protect children from abusers who are already known.
  • The shortcomings arising from the DBS being relaxed in 2012, which can permit ‘barred’ people to work with children periodically if they are supervised, was debated in the House of Lords during the passage of the Protection of Freedoms Act  in November 2011 by two peers with distinguished sporting backgrounds. Why only now has the NSPCC alighted on this issue?  Should it not have been raising this point and objecting to the legislation when it was going through Parliament?
  • The NSPCC proposal to extend duty of care to 16 and 17 year olds, which already exists in education,  is a sound principle. It will though have a limited effect in practice because data [Characteristics Children in Need 2014-15 Table A3 – https://goo.gl/TDiFgq ] indicates the proportion of children suffering abuse or neglect (both sexes) in this age group is 14% while in the younger group, which is already included within the scheme in ‘statutory guidance’  it is 86%.  (Statutory guidance is discretionary)

(more…)

January 26th, 2017|

Key Speeches from HoL Debate 15.12.16 : Allegations of child sexual abuse within football clubs

On the same day as the debate in the House of Lords, Mandate Now issued a press release under the headline ‘Confused Football Association safeguarding policy fails children‘ in which we reviewed the current child protection policy operating at the grassroots of football. Disturbingly the policy was endorsed by the Child Protection Sport Unit of the NSPCC despite it mistakenly claiming law exists to report abuse. A summary of the errors in the policy are available here.

Well meaning employees working in Regulated Activities who have responsibility for children in their care are being failed by a dysfunctional child protection framework, the legal foundation of which has always lacked law to report. It is still discretionary for an employee of a Regulated Activity to report suspected or known child abuse. In the event someone decides to report, they have the dilute Public Interest Disclosure Act to provide nominal protection. (more…)

December 19th, 2016|

Confused Football Association safeguarding policy fails children

Press Release

FA ‘Grassroots Football Safeguarding Children’ Policy

With this much confusion in the FA’s approach to child protection, it will be no surprise to discover that much abuse in football continues to go unreported.” says Tom Perry of Mandate Now, the pressure group which leads the agenda for the introduction of Mandatory Reporting of known and suspected abuse in ‘Regulated Activities’ including sport.

In advance of today’s debate in the House of Lords ‘Allegations of Child Sexual Abuse within football clubs’ Lord Addington (Estimated start 14.00), Mandate Now has reviewed the FA’s ‘Grassroots Football Safeguarding Children Policy’ and in addition the child protection template for club usage.

Our detailed summary of both is here  (more…)

December 15th, 2016|

Labour Party Submission to MRconsult. Good Objectives but Muddled Thinking

During the week commencing 7th November, the Labour Party submitted its proposals  to the Government Consultation titled : Reporting and acting on child abuse and neglect. In the 2015 Labour manifesto it said :

lab-manifesto-mr-3

Here is our review of it. Our observations are indented in italics between the body of Labour’s submission. (more…)

December 5th, 2016|

Signs the Government is increasingly panicked over calls for the introduction of Mandatory Reporting – #FAabuse

Child sexual abuse in football has certainly stirred interest in the absence of law to report known and suspected abuse. It seems likely to be because of the sheer numbers of adults now contacting the various helplines following Andy Woodward’s disclosure on Victoria Live. The scale seems to have galvanised the public.

As a result Mandate Now has been invited to comment on mandatory reporting. For balance the BBC invited the leading Conservative party advocate against it, the former Children’s Minister, Tim Loughton (2010 – 2012), a role from which he was sacked.

The first was on Friday 2/12/16 on the 10pm R4 programme The World Tonight

This was followed and 8am contribution on Saturday 2/12/16 to R5Live with Eleanor Oldroyd

Importantly in his final contribution Mr Loughton to the piece, he uses substantiation as measure of ‘failure’ of Mandatory Reporting in New South Wales. He is mistaken once more.

  1. The MR system in Australian states did not consolidate reports from multiple mandated reporters about the same child/ren leading leading exaggeration of reported numbers. This has now been addressed.
  2. Substantiations do not account for early reports prompted by mandatory reporting which arrive with triage before abuse/crimes have been committed and are registered therefore as an unsubstantiated case
  3. Some States only require sexual abuse to be reported, and it is only those reports which can be ‘substantiated’ while those unsubstantiated cases, which often reveal other concerns that require input from social services agencies are defined as ‘unsubstantiated’ cases.
  4. Misusing or not exploring the available empirical evidence, or doing so in an unsound way is happening increasingly with UK Government and this extends to its spokesperson Mr Loughton.

This misuse of ‘substantiations’ as a measure of success peppers the Home Office consultation. We can expect no better, the Government appears panicked it might have to do something about the dysfunctional child protection framework it stewards. Here is research that supports our assertions about its misuse of substantiations :

This research into reports of all forms of abuse and neglect taken as a whole, and their outcomes, has resulted in conclusions that the substantiation outcome is “a distinction without a difference” (Hussey et al., 2005), that it is “time to leave substantiation behind” (Kohl et al.,2009), and that “substantiation is a flawed measure of child maltreatment. . .policy and practice related to substantiation are due for a fresh appraisal” (Cross & Casanueva, 2009).

On 3/12/16 MN contributed to the Majiid Nawaz programme on LBC. As you will hear Majiid like so many in this country, including two Department for Education Ministers to my personal knowledge, was unaware of the non existence of law to report abuse. Goodness the website got busy after this contribution.

December 4th, 2016|

Friday 25/11/16 – That Sofa on VictoriaLIVE and the Impact It Could Have on Child Protection

The public disclosure by Andy Woodward of child sexual abuse perpetrated on him by Barry Bennell when Andy was an 11 year old junior at Crewe Alexandra has had a dramatic effect on the public, and football. The exclusive story in The Guardian ‘It was the softer weaker boys he targeted‘ on the 16th November, combined with Andy’s appearance on VictoriaLIVE the following day is having a profound effect. Abuse in football, and sport generally, has finally emerged into the daylight. Mandate Now contributed to the programme and others on this important day.  (more…)

November 27th, 2016|