Government Consultation Into Child Abuse Closes

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The Law Of... giving evidence

  • Government consultation into child abuse "Reporting and acting on child abuse and neglect" closes
  • Leading lawyer gives evidence at Labour Committee meeting
The day before the end of the Government's consultation "Reporting and acting on child abuse and neglect", specialist abuse lawyer from Simpson Millar, Peter Garsden, gave evidence to the Labour Party Committee on mandatory reporting. The Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Tom Watson had asked for Peter to share his views on the issue before the Committee he is chairing makes its submission.

Govt consultation into child abuse closes

Peter, who is also President of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers, said afterwards:

"This is a unique and, quite frankly, long time coming opportunity to design and implement a law which helps prevent the abuse of countless children. We must take it. Career paedophiles who infect institutions must be stopped; suspicions must be reported at the earliest opportunity and we know that making it mandatory to do so works. That is what I told the Labour Party Committee and that is what I will be stressing in my firm's own submission to the consultation."

"England currently stands out as the only country in the civilised world and amongst the less than 20% of countries globally that do not have mandatory reporting laws in place regarding child abuse. This consultation is of fundamental importance but only if it results in a change to the law."

"We know that, sadly, non-reporting of abuse by schools and other regulated activities is extremely common - motivated by a desire for self-preservation. We need a law which is robust enough to change the behaviour of management across British institutions where children are currently far too vulnerable."

"As it stands, failing to report suspected money laundering is a far more serious offense than failing to report the abuse of a child. This has to change."

"In the dark shadow of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), there really is no just argument against introducing mandatory reporting - making it easier for staff to raise concerns of abuse in the process. We know from the experiences of other countries that mandatory reporting helps identify offenders earlier, and that it ultimately protects children from abuse."

The Government's consultation "Reporting and acting on child abuse and neglect" closes at midnight on 13 October 2016.


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