Latest Public Sector News

04.11.13

Teachers and social workers should report abuse or ‘face prosecution’

Professionals who fail to report child abuse suspicions should face prosecution, the outgoing director of public prosecutions has proposed.

Following the revelations around Jimmy Savile, BBC Panorama has uncovered files showing that schools and hospitals have repeatedly failed to report child abuse.

The government said it had no plans to change the law.

Keir Starmer said: “It's a very simple proposition. If you're in a position of authority or responsibility in relation to children, and you have cause to believe that a child has been abused, or is about to be abused, you really ought to do something about it.

“There are just too many examples of cases where those who have suspected abuse have not really done anything about it and the perpetrator has either got away with it or, worse still, been able to perpetuate the offending.

“I would have a reasonably broad category of individuals that were subject to the law. Obviously school teachers, but others in a position of authority or responsibility in relation to children, including other educational institutions, even sporting institutions.”

The Department for Education said: “Mandatory reporting is not the answer. Professionals should refer immediately to social care when they are concerned about a child.

“This happens every year in many thousands of cases and numbers of referrals have increased over recent years. Other countries have tried mandatory reporting and there is no evidence to show that it is a better system for protecting children.”

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