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Government scraps proposals on mandatory reporting of child abuse

The Government has scrapped proposals to make it mandatory for professionals in England to report child abuse after a consultation concluded it would not make children safer.

Instead, it was likely to instil “risk averse behaviour driven by fear of sanctions” increasing referrals and creating a “needle in a haystack effect” making it harder to identify real cases.

The Department for Education launched the consultation last July in the wake of failings over professionals to act in cases of child abuse and exploitation in places like Rotherham, Rochdale and Oxfordshire.

However, after hearing submissions including from BASW England, the DfE concluded neither this or an alternative “duty to act” option would “improve the quality of practitioners’ judgement” or how they act on concerns, but instead would likely instil “risk averse behaviour driven by fear of sanctions”.

BASW England manager Maris Stratulis responded: “We have been consistent in our message to government that safeguarding is everybody’s responsibility and there is no evidence that mandatory reporting makes children safer or improves the quality of services and outcomes for children. We need to focus on children and young people being valued, listened to and believed.”