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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
Abuse in Football – that sofa on VictoriaLIVE and the positive impact it *could* have on safeguarding
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 thinking 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 could improve safeguarding for the better. Abuse in football, and sport generally, has finally emerged into the daylight. Mandate Now and others contributed to the programme on this important day. (more…)
An article appeared in the Observer on 4/09/16. The headline captures the thoughts of Baroness Walmsley whose amendment 43 in the Serious Crimes Bill secured the consultation.
Government delayed the start of the consultation by 631 days and then launched on the last day of parliament just as schools, the largest Regulated Activity, went on holiday. Furthermore the end of the consultation will be distracted by the political conference season just before the consultation closes on 13th October.
Child protection has not been liked by Government of any hue.
On 22.6.16 the Spectator published an article by Josie Appleton who does not appear to be a regular contributor. She is convener for a pressure group that writes against regulations in everyday life. She also periodically contributes to the Guardian. Clearly Mandatory Reporting seems to be considered a soft target to which, just like any other piece of proposed legislation, Ms Appleton can contribute using her adult logic without appreciating the first two rules of child protection are (i) suspend adult logic (ii) apply significant experience because it is a complex subject. The piece is available here
There are several points of interest in the article. Firstly that it appeared in this Conservative publication at this time at all. The Government has repeatedly deferred the consultation ‘reporting and acting on child abuse and neglect’ despite there being no reason for delay. We understand it was ready to begin in December 15 and that it might now be launched just before the recess. Let’s not forget Mr Cameron described child abuse as a ‘national threat.’
Within the article there is a thumb print that suggests Ms Appleton was briefed by the Department for Education media team. The idea that referrals from Mandated reporters are poor, while referrals from elsewhere are reliable is pure DfE fantasy spin.
The Spectator declined to publish a comment from a reader maybe because it was too long or perhaps because of embedded links to evidence. (more…)
You can read the article here
Although the positions of the two child protection NGO’s appear to differ in this article their approaches to mandatory reporting are in reality almost identical in that both are keen on the status quo. The NSPCC sidesteps the question on mandatory reporting and talks of sanction predicated on ‘known abuse’ The view of these two organisations seems to be that neither want to be seen to hold a different position to Government.
The NSPCC’s raising ‘known abuse’ hints at its position statement launched in July 2014 which we reviewed it in detail here and concluded : If the objective is the introduction of sound legislative foundations the proposals from the NSPCC are profoundly flawed.
In July 2014, to coincide with the NSPCC’s ‘strengthening duties’ policy statement, Peter Wanless said to the Independent newspaper
“However, our focus for criminalisation is on cover-up, not the merest suspicion that a child might have been harmed.“
Please read our review of the April 2016 article by Professor Ben Mathews entitled – Impact of new mandatory reporting law on reporting and identification of child sexual abuse: A seven year time trend analysis. The empirical evidence contradicts the NSPCC.