Letter to IICSA from multiple signatories following the presentation by the Department for Education to the MR Seminar (1) 27.9.18
A number of questions arise from the presentation given by Mr Graham Archer (Director of Children’s Social Care, Learning and Development – Department for Education) on the topic of ‘Existing Reporting Obligations in England and Wales’. With delegates not being permitted to ask questions of each other, Mandate Now and other signatories have written to IICSA to seek answers about a number of the ‘obligations’ to which Mr Archer alluded. We hope the inquiry asks and receives answers to these matters well in advance of MR Seminar (2) scheduled for 30/4/18, and makes them publicly available.
Signatories to the letter :
- Phil Johnson Chair, MACSAS – Minister and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors
- Fay Maxted OBE, CEO The Survivors Trust
- Siobhan Pyburn, Founder Beam Project
- Alex Renton, Investigative Writer
- Jonathan West, Core Participant Roman Catholic Investigation
Mandate Now made two submissions to IICSA’s MR seminar which are available by following this link.
By clicking on the YouTube link you will be taken to the start of Mr Archer’s presentation.
On the 26th October IICSA sent the following reply to our letter. Of particular note is the fourth paragraph. It’s unfortunate that none of our questions, with which IICSA are so closely aligned, were asked at the MR seminar after Mr Archer’s presentation.
“While some have opposed mandatory reporting laws (Hansen & Ainsworth, 2013; Melton, 2005), these claims have been challenged (Drake & Jonson-Reid, 2007; Mathews & Bross, 2008) and opponents have not explicitly made their claim in relation to mandatory reporting of CSA. There are at least three reasons for this. First, CSA is qualitatively very different from other instances of other types of maltreatment (Mathews, 2014). Second, the well-established gap between the real and disclosed incidence of CSA nullifies Melton’s (2005) claim that case-finding is not a challenge. Third, reports of CSA to government agencies account for a very small proportion of all reports of child maltreatment, repelling any claim that CSA reports intolerably overwhelm child protection systems or divert resources from other priorities. Mandated reports of CSA across Australia over a 10 year period accounted for just 6% of all reports of child maltreatment from all reporter groups (Mathews, Bromfield, Walsh, & Vimpani, 2015), and USA annual data are similar (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2009). In Australia, government inquiries have supported mandatory reporting of CSA as a necessary component of social policy, even after scrutinizing the validity of child protection systems and attempting to control expenditure (Carmody, 2013; Cummins, Scott, & Scales, 2012; Layton, 2003; Wood, 2008).” Matthews et al., 2016
Mandate Now Review of : Summary of consultation responses and Government action following #MRconsult
To coincide with the #MRseminar at IICSA on 27/9/18, we are releasing our review of the published summary of consultation responses and Government action following the consultation titled ‘Reporting and Acting on Child Abuse and Neglect.’
The outcome of this mischievous and poorly designed consultation is a triumph of dogma over reality. Mandatory reporting of known and suspected abuse of children by specified regulated activities is an essential component of a functioning safeguarding framework. The majority of the rest of the world knows it.
The proposed action to be taken by government has ignored under-reporting of known and suspected abuse by Regulated Activities (such as schools), the very point of Amendment 43 tabled by Baroness Walmsley in the Serious Crimes Bill that secured the consultation, and instead concentrates on improvements to inter-agency services and communication once a referral has been received by the Local Authority. Our review explains why this will deliver little change, but the status quo seems to be the intention of Government.
According to the consultation’s pre-launch media briefings, dinner ladies and secretaries were going to be jailed for failing to report signs of abuse. It’s nonsense of course, as anyone familiar with Amendment 43 will understand, but it provides an insight to the irrational fear Government has of mandatory reporting of known and suspected child abuse, and here’s why.
As provided in our submission, data from mandatory reporting jurisdictions reveals that mandatory reporting legislation introduced to Regulated Settings sees the number of referrals to the statutory agencies from mandated reporters’ double. In turn this leads to a near doubling in the number of children placed into safety who would otherwise be left to their fate.
The Government, and those who reject the introduction of MR, have to own and face up to the responsibility that they are knowingly leaving children to their uncertain fate who would otherwise be placed into safety with the introduction of mandatory reporting.
Oral question 1. HoL 10/9/18 : Report of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse regarding safeguarding failures at Downside and Ampleforth schools
Click on full screen in bottom right of the video screen
Question to Lord Agnew – Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Education from Baroness Walmsley.
Given the subject asked about by Baroness Walmsley, it was disappointing that Lord Agnew did not mention the child sex abuse that occurred at his former prep school Beeston Hall, near Cromer, during the 1970’s and perpetrated by science teacher Melvyn Rush. Lord Agnew had long left the school, but this seems as relevant to the House as the fact that some of his wife’s family attended Ampleforth. (more…)
By: Jonathan West
Ampleforth and Downside Abbeys are Benedictine monasteries, each with a boarding school attached. Last November and December the IICSA heard harrowing testimony from former pupils of both schools, describing both physical and sexual abuse that they suffered. The dates ranged from the 1950s to the 2000s.
But more sickening even than the accounts of the abuse was the way in which we learned that it was covered up. When one monk, Richard White, was found to have abused, rather than report it, the Abbot of Downside checked with the school solicitor to see if he had to report it. The reply (legally quite correct) was no. White’s crimes weren’t discovered for another 20 years, when the police stumbled across details in school records while conducting an unrelated investigation into abuse by another monk. White was sentenced to five years. (more…)
Where is the MR seminar IICSA? A letter sent 19/4/18 from lawyers acting for Core Participant abusees to Professor Jay
In an Update Statement published on 27 November 2015, the chair of the Inquiry made the following statement.
Alongside these twelve investigations that form the first phase of the Public Hearings Project, we plan to hold a series of expert hearings into questions of public policy which will feed into the recommendations we make. We propose to start, in the first half of 2016, with an expert hearing into the risks and benefits of mandatory reporting. We will also hold a hearing to explore the balance which must be struck between encouraging the reporting of child sexual abuse and protecting the rights of the accused.
Today a letter has been sent by five lawyers acting for Core Participant abusees, to Professor Jay Chair setting out why this vitally important ‘seminar’ is needed at the earliest opportunity:
That about sums it up, its excellent.
The Lawyers : Richard Scorer (Slater Gordon); Kim Harrison (Slater Gordon), David Greenwood (Switalskis) David Enright (Howe & Co), Alan Collins (Hugh James)