The government is to launch a public consultation on plans to make reporting of suspected child abuse mandatory.
Earlier this year Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Walmsley tabled an amendment to the Serious Crime Bill currently proceeding through the House of Lords. This would have placed a statutory duty on professionals working with children to report any suspicions of possible abuse.
However the proposal was controversial, with Home Office Minister and Conservative peer Michael Bates claiming that statutory reporting could overwhelm local authority resources.
The Baroness withdraw her amendment when the government announced plans for a “full public consultation”.
Announcing the plan in the House of Lords, the Tory Minister said introducing such a requirement without proper consideration would be “a leap in the dark”.
Reporting suspected abuse is a legal requirement in some countries, but evidence for the effectiveness of such requirements is “inconclusive” the peer insisted.
“We will consult broadly on the advisability, risk, nature and scope of any reporting duty, including questions on which forms of abuse it should apply to, and to whom it should attach,” he declared.
The Minister insisted that the government would look “at all the responses they receive with an open mind.”
The consultation will run for 12 weeks.
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