The Guardian has a story today about mandatory report of child abuse. Apparently the government is dubious about forcing professionals to report concerns about child abuse. The proposed law would see teachers, councillors and social workers sentenced to up to five years if they fail to report their concerns.
The suspicion is that the current Conservative government do not want to introduce such a law, because they fear it would lead to too many referrals, and place undue strain on the justice system. This (if true) would not be surprising - it was the Conservative/Lib Dem coaltion which pared back the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006.
Other jurisdictions have mandatory reporting, and there is evidence to show that those that do, detect more child abuse in their societies than those who do not. Lawyers have been subject to money laundering regulations for some years now, which means that they go to prison if they fail to check out a suspicious transaction. This has not resulted in a sudden increase in our prison population.
At present, I think that mandatory reporting should be introduced but there is no political appetite for it.
Malcolm Johnson, Specialist Child Abuse Lawyer