There is no legal duty to report known or suspected cases of child abuse to social services or the police.
Today’s episode is a video produced by Fixers, in which we reveal a crucial gap in the child protection law in England.
‘The law regarding child abuse is full of coulds, shoulds and woulds but no MUSTs.’ – Tom Perry, founder of mandatenow.org.uk
I repeat: There is NO legal duty to report known or suspected cases of child abuse to social services or the police.
Reading that, you will likely belong to one of three groups:
Group A: ‘yes there is. It says so in my organisation’s policy document.’ – Yes, but this is not the same as a law. There are sanctions for failing to comply with legal duties. There is no legal sanction for failing – or refusing – to report child abuse.
Group B: ‘That doesn’t sound right. Are you sure?’ – Yes, I’m sure. The Children’s Act creates a general duty to act in the best interests of children, but this does not create a specific duty to report. Instead, the government has released various documents of ‘statutory guidance’ which are 100% optional to follow. Statutory guidance is an oxymoron. It’s either statute, or it’s mere guidance.
Group C: ‘I know there’s no legal duty to report child abuse, nor should there be.’ Watch the video, and let me know your thoughts.
Do we really mean to ‘learn the lessons’ from previous cases where it was later revealed that people knew or had reason to suspect, but did nothing?
… or do we just talk about it?
For more about this topic, including a comprehensive breakdown of how a CHANGE IN THE LAW might work in practice – and piles of EVIDENCE – go here: