A petition with more than 200,000 signatures from pressure group Mandate Now that seeks the introduction of law requiring staff working with children to report known and suspected abuse is delivered to No.10 tomorrow 2/12/15. Cheryl Gillan MP will later present it on the floor of the House of Commons
The petition calls for the introduction of a mandatory reporting law that supports staff who work in ‘regulated activities’ which include schools, care homes, religious organisations, sports organisations and healthcare trusts; to report suspected or known abuse of a child to the Local Authority for independent assessment.
The petition is delivered just as last Friday, the Hon Justice Goddard DNZM Chair of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual, announced that in the first half of next year the inquiry will hold expert hearings into mandatory reporting.
In England and Wales child protection is grounded on ‘discretionary’ reporting which can have no reliance placed upon it. Many cases have come to light where abuse was known by an organisation but not reported at the time, contributing to the suffering of many children, and the deaths of some including Daniel Pelka. This shortcoming to the current child protection arrangements undoubtedly contributed to the Government launching the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.
Mandate Now has led this important agenda since 2003.
‘My constituent Tom Perry and Mandate Now have been consistently asking for this change to the law to improve the reporting of child abuse. Now, over 200,000 people are supporting the change, and I hope the Government will respond positively,’ said Rt Hon Cheryl Gillan, MP for Chesham & Amersham.
The Rt Hon Cheryl Gillan MP is joined by the founder of Mandate Now Tom Perry, Liberal Democrat Peer Baroness Walmsley who was instrumental in securing a government consultation on mandatory reporting during the passage of the Serious Crimes Bill through the House of Lords, the Rt Hon Sharon Hodgson – Shadow Children’s Minister leading on Child Protection who was an early signatory to the petition, Fay Maxted OBE the Chief Executive of The Survivors Trust and Natalie Brammer of Mandate Now.
England and Wales differ markedly from other parts of the world in their approach to institutional child protection. In England and Wales child protection in these settings is reliant on ‘discretionary’ reporting. In the rest of the world some form of mandatory reporting exists in:
- 90% of the nations in the Americas
- 86% of the nations in Europe
- 77% of the nations in Africa
- 72.0% of the nations in Asia¹.
MandateNow is a leading child protection pressure group. It is supported by the Survivors Trust, the national umbrella agency for over 130 specialist rape, sexual violence and childhood sexual abuse support organisations throughout the UK. Tom Perry the founder of Mandate Now was the first complainant in the Caldicott School child abuse case. He is also the founding contributor of the 2008 BAFTA award winning documentary Chosen which is about the dynamics of institutional abuse and its long-term effects. The documentary revealed the non-existence of law which featured in the 2008 BAFTA acceptance speech.
MandateNow is supported by:
[¹] Daro, D, (ed), World Perspectives on Child Abuse, 7th ed, International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, Chicago, 2006, p 26.
Our petition is presented to No.10 with two documents and a usb containing more than 200,000 signatures.
The first is a letter to the the Prime Minister which is provided here : Letter to the Rt Hon David Cameron
The second is the a copy of the petition that is presented on the Floor of the House which can be read here