The Campaign for Daniel’s Law achieved a significant breakthrough yesterday. Following more allegations of sexual abuse by staff at leading prep schools, Labour MP Tom Watson once again urged government to reconsider mandatory reporting by way of the following question to Michael Gove in Parliament ‘Will Ministers now urgently consider adequate research into the funding of mandatory reporting in regulated settings?’
This time, Mr Gove surprised everyone with his response as follows ‘I have been concerned that this might cause more work for Children’s Services Departments than it would generate safety for children… however, the specific case for mandatory reporting in regulated settings is one we are actively considering’ – watch online at 46.30.
Pressure has been mounting on the government for months to give due consideration to mandatory reporting – continued pressure from the Campaign for Daniel’s Law has been punctuated with many high profile cases including those around Jimmy Savile, Caldicott School and now St Paul’s, George Osborne’s prep school. Children continue to suffer in regulated settings (places where they are cared for by professional acting in loco parentis like schools, nurseries, care homes, sports and faith organisations) every day, where it is astonishing that there is currently no legal obligation on staff to report child abuse.
The Mandate Now coalition of survivor charities now acts as the political and legislative arm of the Campaign for Daniel’s Law; we are encouraged that Michael Gove’s comments yesterday, reported by The Times as a ‘change of heart’, follow Mr Gove’s meeting with Tom Perry of Mandate Now, a victim of child abuse at Caldicott school in Bucks. The government is now considering the kind of research and funding which would be necessary to underpin the introduction of mandatory reporting in regulated settings and we look forward to further developments.
Whilst these first signs are hopeful, it is important that we keep up the pressure. The Campaign for Daniel’s Law will reach a pivotal point when we achieve 100K signatures and call again for change.