This vital observation is apparently missing from most media reports. Children spend most of their time outside of the family home in regulated activities including schools – it’s here that familial abuse is most likely to be picked up. Mandatory reporting also makes it law for staff to report abuse which takes place in regulated settings – look at the extent of Savile’s known and unreported abuse in care homes and hospitals etc, look at what happened at Caldicott and St Paul’s schools, consider how Jeremy Forrest was able to groom and elope with his pupil, all in full view of colleagues who failed to report. What more evidence is required of the need for people working with children to be legally obliged to come forward and report child abuse? As Daniel’s Serious Case Review clearly indicated, staff need to have the support of law to give them the confidence to intervene and formally report abuse, in what are inevitably very difficult circumstances.
We continue to make good progress.
Political interest and support continues to grow, in sometimes unexpected areas… as each party puts together their election manifesto, we must be ready to bring appropriate pressure to bear on our MPs to make sure Daniel’s Law is included and we will provide the tools to do so on this website when the time is right. I feel confident that the mandatory reporting of sexual abuse in regulated settings will be on the Labour agenda – but we must make certain that proposed legislation extends also to the obvious physical abuse – black eyes, broken bones, strangulation marks, emaciation – which Daniel suffered in full view of staff at his school, which went unreported and which ultimately led to his death.
In partnership with the Mandate Now coalition of charities, we are hopeful of government debate in coming months – there has been a delay due to Parliamentary recesses, but this is still very much the intention of supporting MPs.
Coventry City Council is working with child protection campaigner and researcher, Jonathan West, to pilot an exemplary safeguarding policy in all schools as of September, based on the principles of Daniel’s Law – new measures will be introduced so that staff will be required to and accountable for reporting child abuse as far as is possible without law.
We are pleased to now be in open dialogue with the NSPCC and collaborating on academic research now in progress, which we hope and expect to unequivocally illustrate the effectiveness of mandatory reporting in regulated settings.
Please keep signing and sharing Daniel’s Law – together, we have put this issue firmly on the national agenda and we must keep it in the public eye as we prepare to call once again for the change we need… until mandatory reporting is introduced, vulnerable children will continue to suffer every day, in the care of professionals with no legal obligation to report their abuse.
The months until the May 2015 elections are critical – please keep checking here for what you can do.