Joan Walmsley: Children have a right to be believed about abuse and deserve action, not cover-up (via The Observer)

Baroness Walmsley
Baroness Walmsley

Every time a new child abuse scandal is revealed by the media there are calls for more training and more communication, but never more prevention. I believe that even the most determined paedophile will be greatly deterred if he knows that his colleagues are alert and, where they suspect child abuse, will do something about it. That’s why we need a legal duty on those working with children to report known or suspected child abuse to the authorities.

For years there has been a professional duty to act, but no sanctions for failure if people chose to turn a blind eye to even the most obvious signs of harm or distress or kept silent when they noticed a dubious attitude to children on the part of a colleague.

People have worried that they would lose their job if they reported what they knew, possibly damaging the reputation of their organisation. For that reason they have said nothing. It’s time we protected well-meaning members of the children’s workforce and empowered them, even obliged them, to report what they know or suspect to the authorities.

Full letter here


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