Sadly, in my experience, it is a common scenario for many child abuse cases to involve an ‘insider’ who was aware that neglect was happening, but failed to report it. There is not always a damaging reason for this, in fact as many of you who read my blogs will know, abuse is often under reported due to the control of another person at the organisation which allows for the cover up of such horrific crimes and even enables the criminal to continue their abuse.
But that is all about to change. According to a recent article other members of staff could be held accountable if they become exposed to signs of child abuse or neglect, even facing prosecution.
The Government released a consultation paper last Thursday which presents two options for overhauling the current child protection system, following several high profile abuse scandals such as the Savile case and the Rotherham and Rochdale cases. The first option involves a series of mandatory reporting that requires certain individuals and organisations to report neglect to the local authority if they had reasonable cause to do so.
The second option is to introduce a wider duty act where certified individuals can take appropriate action. There will be a responsibility for all school employees, including secretaries, caretakers and even dinner ladies, to report cases of abuse as part of their legal duty.
It was thought the consultation paper would only apply to professionals such as doctors, teachers and police officers, but the Government wants to spread the net even wider. In fact, the new duties could cover social workers, care assistants, housing officers, childminders, GPs, nurses – even firefighters. The aim is to target any individuals consciously taking a decision not to intervene or take action in any case of wilful neglect.
Sanctions are heavy for those failing to fall in to line with the new requirements and could lead to hefty fines or even a prison sentence.
There is a necessity for mandatory reporting to ensure that those who are made aware of potential neglect or abuse are compelled to report to the authorities and allow them to be free from stigmatisation as a whistle-blower.
The consultation paper is seeking for views on mandatory reporting or a wider duty to act for those who are made aware of suspected neglect or child abuse who fail to report. You can read more about it here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/reporting-and-acting-on-child-abuse-and-neglect.
Below is a selection of organisations/instutions/bodies we are frequently instructed to pursue.
Private schools, boarding schools, local authority schools, closed schools, hospital schools.
The Scouts Association, St Johns Ambulance, MIND, the Children’s Society, Barnados.
- Football trainers, judo teachers, dance instructors, swimming instructors, holiday activity centres, nurseries, youth clubs.
Local Authorities/Ministry of Defence
- County Councils, Borough Councils, City Councils, ILEA, cadets, navy/ army (forces).
National Health Service Trusts/Commissioning Boards/GPs
- Hospitals, Disability care centres, children’s care providers.
- Convicted perpetrators, acquitted perpetrators.
- Respite care, full time children’s home, part-time children’s homes.
- Roman Catholic Church, United Synagogue, Sisters of Nazareth, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Brothers Order.
- Permanent carers, temporary carers
"Thank you for all your much appreciated hard work. I will truly never forget your kindness towards me. Your patience, respect and understanding at all times was beyond words. The sincere compassion shown meant more to me than words could ever express. This firm will forever hold a special place in my heart."