In the USA two pressure groups are seeking to get their respective State Governments, Pennsylvania and New York City, to scrap their poorly designed versions of mandatory reporting of ‘child abuse’.
We sympathise, with the significant exception of Mandatory Reporting of known and suspected child sexual abuse, on reasonable grounds. Mandatory reporting for CSA has not been revoked in any jurisdiction in the world, indeed many jurisdictions have strengthened and extended the law to more professionals, Switzerland being just one; Western Australia is another even more recent example. Data and empirical evidence demonstrate MR of child sexual abuse by prescribed professionals is a vital component of functioning safeguarding for institutional settings (known in the UK as ‘Regulated Activities’). These key personnel also have a vitally important ‘sentinel’ role of safeguarding children who may be abused in the family or elsewhere.
Here are two articles featuring the campaigns of both US jurisdictions. (more…)
On 20th July 2022 Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson tabled a Private Members Bill : Regulated and Other Activities (Mandatory Reporting of Child Sexual Abuse) Bill [HL]
The Bill ran out of time but what it revealed was just how lacklustre the IICSA recommendation was for mandatory reporting in principle.
We are optimistic there will in future be further opportunities to table legislation.
Mandate Now has updated its legislative proposal to: mandatory reporting of known and suspected child sexual abuse only
Mandate Now is an evidence led pressure group. For sometime we have been aware of the attendant risks of including physical abuse and neglect in our legislative objectives. Without evidence that clearly demonstrates physical abuse and neglect are positively addressed by the introduction of law, we have amended our objectives to mandatory reporting of suspected and known child sexual abuse only. The depth of evidence supporting the introduction of well-designed law applied to prescribed ‘Regulated Activities’ is significant. The key extract in our updated legislative proposal is here :
Our submission to IICSA of 27.9.18 in advance of the MR seminars, revealed the direction of travel which today is crystallised in this update.
‘Detriment’ can be experienced by staff who report child abuse. Our updated legislative proposal for Mandatory Reporting addresses it.
From evidence given to IICSA , the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the Hart Inquiry and the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry, it is apparent that personnel working in Regulated Activities who do the right thing and adhere to discretionary ‘guidance’ and in some cases professional ‘expectation’ to report known or suspected child sexual abuse, often do so at great personal cost. We have heard of reporters being bullied, alienated from work colleagues, isolated and often forced out of the workplace through a variety of means including constructive dismissal.
To address this practice we took legal and academic advice and have updated our legislative proposal for the introduction of well-designed Mandatory Reporting by those employed in Regulated Activities such as teachers, sports coaches, clergy, healthcare personnel and many more.
For quick reference there are three new clauses to address ‘detriment’ which we feature below :
With mandated reporting of defined concerns supplemented by protection from ‘detriment’, our proposed legislation would put England and Wales on a par with the majority of jurisdictions in the rest of the world.
The Law In Sport article was published on 30th July 2020. Mandate Now was sent a link by a social media follower who correctly thought it would interest us. It’s author Richard Bush is an Associate in Bird & Bird’s Sports Group, We have interpolated our comments into his article below using this ‘comment’ format in italics. All photographs and sound files form part of our commentary.
Here are the 779 submissions made to the 2016 ‘Reporting and Acting on Child Abuse and Neglect’ consultation. Councils, Royal College’s healthcare, education, faith, NGO’s and similar
The Information Commissioner’s Office ruled in our favour against the Home Office requiring it to provide us with the submissions to the MR consultation.
The submissions provide useful information, but it’s a depressing picture of sparse safeguarding understanding in so many Regulated Activities. It is the Department for Education which is responsible for the disrepair and dysfunction within the safeguarding framework that fails staff, children and their parents. The framework’s design emerged from social work practice, dominated as it is by familial neglect and its consequences. The resulting thicket of confusion was then misapplied to strategically important and complex Regulated Activities in a thoughtless ‘one size fits’ all approach. As data reveals these settings require the legislative foundation of well-designed MR.
Like us you may find many of the responses from professional bodies quite inexplicable.
Surprisingly perhaps, no National Governing Bodies of sport made a submission to the consultation. Why not? Neither did the Catholic Church or the Church of England with the exception of the Diocese of Canterbury (see #556 and the answer to Q7), and it’s worth reading.
To use the data, we suggest you click on ‘Index of Consultation Responses’ and either scroll through or word search what you are looking for. Then open ‘consultation responses’ and go to the corresponding index number.