BBC Panorama recently screened a programme which explored the need for Mandatory Reporting in Regulated Activities, with particular regard to child sexual abuse in institutions. Keir Starmer, former Director of Public Prosecutions, argued in favour of new legislation requiring staff to report suspected and known abuse; the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church also voiced support for this new law in the same programme.
The Panorama documentary went to air only weeks after the National Crime Agency’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre published a significant report entitled Foundations of Abuse, which also supports the call for Mandatory Reporting in Regulated Activities – regional police chiefs including Northumbria’s Vera Baird have since given their public backing to the call for change.
New political support is forthcoming from Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk and West Bromwich East MP Tom Watson. I am also hopeful that Rotherham MP Sarah Champion (who was the first MP to sign the petition for Daniel’s Law) will be able to offer further campaign advice from her new and highly relevant position as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Shadow Education Minister Tristram Hunt.
Continued support from regional press remains important to us, particularly we are grateful to the Manchester Evening News and to the Coventry Observer, which launches an awareness initiative offering Daniel’s Law posters for readers to display in the workplace this week.
We experienced a dramatic increase in signatures following the Panorama report and the flurry of associated media interest as thousands recognised our call for action and observed the growing mass of heavyweight support for new legislation to protect children and support staff to report. Numbers now stand at more than 92,000; every day brings us closer to the 100,000 landmark which will make this petition simply impossible to ignore.
Please keep signing and spreading the word for Daniel’s Law; the Panorama report was a stark reminder that, although we can’t help Daniel, there are many other vulnerable children who need the protection of staff working in Regulated Activities; we need to ensure that help is forthcoming via appropriate legislation to support those who need to report suspected and known child abuse. In close collaboration with Change.org and the Mandate Now coalition of charities, we will continue to bring pressure to bear on government for change.
A tipping point is surely imminent.