While England is still twiddling its thumbs over whether or not to make reporting concerns about child abuse a legal duty, Ireland has gone ahead and done it.
The new law means that professionals in Ireland who work with children, including teachers, doctors, nurses and police will be required to report any suspicions of child abuse they have to the Child and Family Agency.
Whilst Ireland’s social workers are panicking about a potential reporting floodgate being opened, which they fear might overwhelm the system, the current research on mandatory reporting offers reassurance. To date, there has been little to no evidence of a mandatory duty to report significantly weighing down child protection systems.
Children’s charity Barnardo’s welcomed the move, and Ireland’s Republican Party Fianna Fáil went one step further, calling for the extension of mandatory reporting to cover suspicions of abuse relating to adults with disabilities.
Ministers, what are you waiting for – and when are you going to publish the findings from our consultation on mandatory reporting, which was launched over a year ago?