If the news today is anything to go by, it would appear that David Cameron is thinking about making it mandatory to report suspected child abuse. Institutions like hospitals, schools and children’s homes may be among those who will be required to report.
This is not a new idea. We have seen debate around the duty to disclose child abuse as recently as last year, but in the wake of the Westminster scandal and the ever growing stats on child abuse, it seems that this time, the Prime Minister may be able to push this move forward and make it law.
At the same time, MP for Rochdale, Simon Danczuk has today told the media he would like to see an amnesty for whistle blowers inside the social work industry who are considering reporting historic child abuse and offering any information they may have about cover ups by their employers, as the government’s inquiry gets under way.
We are not sure if the PM’s plan to impose a duty on reporting child abuse is the answer. Pressure to report unusual behaviour may lead to hasty judgment calls which could lead to mistakes. It’s also hard to know whether legal repercussions from failing to report any suspected abuse will actually ensure that more people come forward. We’re just not sure that’s how this rather complex dynamic works.
So, what do you think? Will mandatory reporting of child abuse help protect children or will it just drive abuse underground?
Out thanks go to John Malloch-Caldwell for alerting us to the Prime Minister’s address today.