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Reporting and acting on child abuse and neglect: Government consultation

This consultation outlines options for reform of the child protection system in England, specifically in relation to reporting and acting on child abuse and neglect. This includes consideration of the introduction of mandatory reporting of child abuse and neglect or an alternative duty to act which focuses on taking appropriate action in relation to child abuse and neglect. This consultation also seeks views on whether the scope of these possible changes should extend to vulnerable adults.

Any information received which includes a specific allegation of child abuse will be referred to the police/the relevant local authority’s children’s social care department. In such cases, the correspondent will be informed that the information has been referred, and to whom. If a broad allegation is included in any material received (i.e. without specific details to enable police inquiry or local authority investigation), the correspondent will be advised that they should raise these matters directly with the police/ local authority children’s social care themselves.

Scope of this consultation

TOPIC: The consultation seeks views about whether it is necessary to introduce one of two possible new legal requirements focused on reporting and acting on child abuse and neglect in addition to the Government’s programme of whole system reforms.

SCOPE: The consultation covers all forms of suspected and known child abuse and neglect. The new statutory duties under consideration would not apply to the general public. They would not apply retrospectively to cases that occurred prior to their introduction. This consultation also seeks views on whether the scope of these possible changes should extend to vulnerable adults.

GEOGRAPHICAL SCOPE: England only. The Welsh Government will consider the consultation outcome in relation to the duty to act to inform decisions about any future legislative change in Wales.

IMPACT ASSESSMENT: A consultation stage impact assessment is published alongside this consultation document.

WHO THIS CONSULTATION IS FOR: This consultation is open to the public and all responses will be reviewed carefully. We are particularly interested to hear from children and young people; social care, education, criminal justice, and healthcare practitioners; the police; and from victims and survivors of child abuse.

DURATION: The consultation starts on 21 July 2016 and will run for 12 weeks, concluding at 12:00 noon on 13 October 2016.

Please read the consultation and key questions and forward your comments to Nushra Mansuri, Professional Officer, BASW England by Friday 7 October 2016.