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Protect the child, not the reputation

Response by the British Association of Social Workers to calls by the NSPCC to criminalise the covering up of child abuse by institutions:

BASW's England Manager Maris Stratulis said: "Our starting point must always be what best protects children from harm.

"It is totally unacceptable for institutions to attempt to cover up abuse of children to protect their reputation and we would absolutely agree with the NSPCC on this issue. It also contravenes regulatory requirements and good practice.

"This, however, is not the same as introducing mandatory reporting which is something that needs further debate because it may not always be in the best interest of the child, as the NSPCC acknowledges.

"Further discussion is also needed about what constitutes the legal threshold of individual and corporate responsibility, since institutions have differing structures of governance and accountability.

"Whatever changes are put in place, it is vital that we create a culture in which children are listened to and social workers are given the time and resource to effectively support children and families."