Reporting suspected sexual abuse to be mandatory for those working with children in England

Posted: 3rd April 2023

Source: The Guardian

Law must be strengthened, says home secretary, so professionals like teachers and carers face ‘full force of law’ if they fail in their duty to protect.

The home secretary is to spell out new requirements for people working with children in England to report signs or suspicions of sexual abuse.

The government is expected to set out details of plans in the coming days to tackle grooming gangs and better protect children.

The independent inquiry into child sexual abuse last year described sexual abuse of children as an “epidemic that leaves tens of thousands of victims in its poisonous wake”.

The seven-year inquiry into institutional failings in England and Wales concluded that people in positions of trust should be compelled by law to report child sexual abuse.

Rishi Sunak is expected to set out further measures to tackle grooming gangs on Monday, but ahead of the announcement, Suella Braverman indicated there was an urgent need for legal reform.

Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Braverman said that the inquiry “recommended that the government should introduce a mandatory duty for professionals with safeguarding responsibilities to report any signs or suspicions of such abuse”.

“Had this duty been in place already, countless children would have been better protected against grooming gangs and against sexual abusers more widely.

“That is why I have committed to introduce mandatory reporting across the whole of England.”

Braverman said “safeguarding professionals, such as teachers and social workers” played a vital role in protecting children but the duty must be strengthened in legislation to “ensure those who fail to do so face the full force of the law”.


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