Overview – The amendment was withdrawn following this assurance from Lord Bates for the Government :
“I can therefore advise the House that we will now hold a full public consultation on the issue of mandatory reporting. We will consult broadly on the advisability, risk, nature and scope of any reporting duty, including questions on which forms of abuse it should apply to, and to whom it should attach. I should emphasise that the Government will look at all the responses they receive with an open mind. It will be a thorough, open and transparent consultation with a rigorous evaluation of the responses. Although hitherto the Government, like the Opposition, have taken the view that we have concerns about the specific wording of this amendment, we are entering into this consultation in good faith, in our desire to evaluate the evidence that comes forward.”
Baroness Walmsley has been assiduously busy with her amendment judging by the number of peers supporting it. These included : The Lord Bishop of Durham, Baronesses Brinton, Finlay, Hollins, and Benjamin. The one voice against was Baroness Howarth, a director of the The Lucy Faithfull Foundation. The objects of this charity are stated on the Charity Commission website. Object #1 of 5 is: TO FURTHER THE ASSESSMENT, PSYCHOLOGICAL REHABILITATION, TREATMENT, EDUCATION AND CARE OF PERSONS WHO HAVE COMMITTED OR ARE LIKELY TO COMMIT SEXUAL OFFENCES AGAINST OTHERS, ESPECIALLY CHILDREN. Lady Howarth’s speech is grounded on misapplied research that is used by this charity and others to dismiss mandatory reporting as a key component in a functioning child protection framework.
We await publication of the terms.