Mandate Now review of NSPCC Submission to the consultation on reporting and acting on child abuse and neglect which closed on 13 Oct 2016 :
Mandate Now review comments are italicised.
The submission appears to have much more to do with the relationship the NSPCC has with Government than it does with the effective protection of children by Regulated Activities. Its support for the Government’s preferred option of ‘Duty to Act,’ which relabels the status quo with the prime objective of keeping any increase in referrals to a minimum, indicates the charity’s strapline ‘every childhood is worth fighting for’ is in doubt.
Option 3 Conclusion : Mandate Now rejects the proposal.
The proposal requires no one to report anything because there is no legal mandate to report. No one is protected if they do report a concern because the report remains discretionary since the required action under the duty is unspecified. If they don’t act in a way they should have acted, and with the benefit of hindsight and possibly years later, the failure to act ‘could’ be criminalised. (more…)
Conclusion : Mandate Now rejects the Government’s option 2 proposal in the consultation which was issued on 21/7/16
- Through the definition of the term “practitioner” LA children’s services will both be mandated reporters and the recipients of their own reports.
- The proposal allows no flexibility in LA arrangements for triaging and handling reports for instance using the LADO or a Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub.
- Less serious cases of non-reporting will be addressed by disciplinary rather than criminal sanctions. Such sanctions have failed to influence child protection. Sanctions depend on organisations acting potentially against their own interests to apply disciplinary sanctions. There is no proposed sanction on an organisation for failing to take disciplinary action, therefore this is not “mandatory” reporting but a minor variation to the discretionary reporting arrangements currently in
- The consultation proposal provides little or nothing in the way of legal protections for those who report.
- The proposal covers only a limited number of Regulated Activities
There are three curious things about the consultation proposal for mandatory reporting. (more…)
Mandate Now review of :
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The Mandate Now position has always been that we follow the evidence. If sound research were to show that mandatory reporting in Regulated Activities (e.g. schools, hospitals etc.) were unhelpful to detecting child sex abuse, then we would stop our campaign for the introduction of such a law.
The government has consistently opposed mandatory reporting, and has cited various academic research papers which it claims support its position. These include: (more…)
The long delayed consultation on Mandatory Reporting (“MR”), ceded from Government on 28th October 2014 in the House of Lords during the passage of the Serious Crimes Bill, still awaits launch. But this has borne an advantage with the release earlier this week of important new longitudinal research into the effects of MR from Ben Mathews, LLB, BA, PhD, Associate Professor in the School of Law at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. He is also Director of Research in the School of Law and is co-Leader of the Children’s Rights and Welfare research program in QUT’s Children and Youth Research Centre.
Dr Mathews’ major area of research expertise is in children and the law, with a focus on issues concerning law and child maltreatment, civil damages for child abuse, children and educational systems, medico-legal issues, children’s rights, cultural violence against children, and children’s criminal responsibility. He has conducted large multidisciplinary studies of laws regarding the reporting of child maltreatment and has published extensively in Australia and internationally, with 45 publications. Ben’s research and knowledge translation has led to changes in law, policy and practice. (more…)
In 2008 child protection in England and Wales was described in the following terms by the co author of a highly regarded reference book on child protection law in common law jurisdictions:
‘What is the current law?
To start it is important to recognise two problems in the current law relating to child abuse:
It is a patchwork of different types of law often created as a specific reaction to a particular scandal. It has no cohesion and can be contradictory. It is, for want of a better description, the Dangerous Dogs Act writ large.
It is unwieldy. There are hundreds of different rules in different places.’
The co author was expressing opinions shared by others. Here is Sir Roger Singleton on the same subject in 2009 following the publication of his report ‘Keeping Our School Safe‘ which was commissioned by the Secretary of State for Education Ed Balls, just three weeks after the first broadcast of the BAFTA award winning documentary Chosen about institutional child abuse and its long-term effects (more…)