The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has heard that two leading Catholic Schools, “covered up” allegations of sexual abuse after learning that they were not legally obliged to report it.
As a result the IICSA’s findings, the Government are being urged to make the reporting of child abuse mandatory. Jordans have long supported the view that there should be a legal requirement to report suspicions of child abuse.
Mandatory reporting is a system of imposing a duty on individuals to report suspicions of child abuse or if they have witnessed child abuse to an independent body. Failure to do so would amount to a criminal offence. It is the law in other countries but currently not in England and Wales. So far the Government have resisted its introduction for fear of “opening the floodgates.”
A recent report as part of the IICSA’s inquiry has shown that a monk at Ampleforth College in North Yorkshire failed to report known allegations of abuse after consulting a legal adviser to see whether there was a duty to report the abuse. On learning that the answer was no, no report was made.
The report commented that the allegations were hidden to protect the school’s reputation. However, did the decision protect the pupils of the school?
The findings have been debated in the House of Lords. Liberal Democrat Peer Baroness Walmsley said, “There was a need to introduce law to make the reporting of child abuse a regulated activity.
In response Education Minister Lord Agnew of Oulton stated that whilst the Government supported the introduction of legislation which prevented the concealment of abuse a consultation has shown that 70% of social workers, police officers and other connected parties who were approached felt that.” mandatory reporting would have an adverse impact; 85% said that it would not, in itself, lead to the appropriate action being taken”
It is our view that the introduction of mandatory reporting of child abuse would be a step forward in ensuring that children are adequately protected. It is hoped that its introduction would provide a safer and more secure environment for children with the risk of children being exposed to abuse reduced.
If you have been the victim of Child Abuse, Jordans Solicitors have a dedicated team of Lawyers helping people claim compensation. Contact one of our team free on 0330 300 1103.