The NSPCC have recommended a policy change such that people who fail to report abuse or to act to prevent abuse be guilty of a criminal offence. The charity have announced their support of a change in the law, which would make turning a blind eye or deliberately covering up knowledge of instances of child abuse against the law.
Commenting on their position, the NSPCC’s Chief Executive, Peter Wanless, said: “If someone consciously knows that there is a crime committed against a child, and does nothing about it because they put the reputation of the organisation above the safety of the child, that should be a criminal offence.”
The apparent change in tack by the charity, who had previously said it was opposed to ‘blanket mandatory reporting’, has received some support from the Government; with David Cameron commenting that it ‘may be time’ to make not reporting child abuse a crime.
As a lawyer specialising in abuse claims I wonder where this will leave many public bodies, and ironically the Police.
A common thread in abuse claims is often a failure by the Police to act upon information they may have been made aware of. One only need only look at the Rochdale sex ring case and other similar cases across the country to see that the Police were aware of the actions of these gangs and the fact that teenage girls were regularly having sex with groups of older men and yet they failed to act.
This would seem to fall squarely within the NSPCC’s proposals and raises an interesting prospect of the Police being criminally culpable for failing to protect abused children.
If you have suffered abuse and are considering making a compensation claim for abuse, our team of specialist lawyers in this area can help. There are a number of routes to consider, including suing the perpetrator of the abuse and/or the local authority if one involved in your care as a child.
We understand that it can be very difficult to come forward to discuss the circumstances surrounding abuse and are happy to offer a free and confidential discussion, either over the phone or in person. Please contact us for further advice.