The government has announced that it will shortly fulfil its promise to launch a consultationlooking at the possibility of making reporting suspected child abuse compulsory. This development is not surprising, as child sexual abuse scandals like those involving Jimmy Saville and the towns of Rotherham and Telford continue to expose weaknesses in the protection of children within settings which should be effectively safeguarding them from harm.
But what might mandatory reporting look like, and what are the pros and cons? Mandatory reporting is a duty, enforced by law, to report suspicions of child maltreatment to the head of an institution or child protection organisation, including the police. The standards applied to create an obligation to report are varied. For instance, any new law put into place may require the reporter to ‘suspect’, have ‘reason to believe’ or ‘reasonable cause to suspect’ that a child is being abused. It is unlikely that lodging a suspicion would lead to the reporter having to provide proof of the abuse; however, a failure to make a report could lead to a jail sentence.
Prime Minister David Cameron hopes to extend the offence of ‘wilful neglect’ to include more individuals who come into direct contact with children as the ground for breaching any duty to report which might be enshrined in law. The wilful neglect or ill-treatment offence was first introduced in the Criminal Justice and Courts Act, which was passed in 2015 and, at this time, applies only to care workers or care provider organisations looking after children and adults in the NHS and adult care homes.
read the full article here:-Should child welfare professionals be made to report child abuse