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Child Abuse

Volume 404: debated on Tuesday 6 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to review the law concerning reporting allegations and suspicions of child abuse. [110358]

"Working Together to Safeguard Children", the Government's child protection guidance, sets out how all agencies and professionals should work together to promote children's welfare and protect them from abuse and neglect. It is intended to provide a national framework within which agencies and professionals at local level—individually and jointly— draw up and agree upon their more detailed ways of working together.The Protection of Children Guidance, produced for agencies, voluntary organisations etc. to accompany the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000, makes it clear that in any case of suspected child abuse the police must always be contacted immediately.

The suggestion that there should be a statutory obligation to report allegations or suspicions of child abuse is being considered in the light of the experience of other countries that have introduced mandatory reporting schemes.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what research he has commissioned into the potential impact of making compulsory the reporting of (a) allegations and (b) suspicions of child abuse by persons in positions of authority. [110993]

The Government are considering the suggestion that there should be a statutory obligation to report allegations or suspicions of child abuse. In doing so, we will take into account the experience of other countries that have introduced mandatory reporting schemes. It is too early in our consideration to be able to report on our findings.