Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you have any legal concerns we suggest you consult a solicitor.

Reporting of abuse in schools and nurseries

(22 Posts)
byah Mon 29-Apr-13 19:33:52

The Reporting of Abuse ? Time for Change.

All parents need to know that although some school deal very correctly and report any cases of abuse that may occur that:
? At present there is no legal requirement on anyone working with children in England ,Wales or Scotland, to report allegations or witnessed abuse of a child, including rape, to either the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) or the police. ?

This lack of mandatory reporting allows schools to ?deal with? cases of abuse entirely within the school and by their own staff and has led to some well-documented cases of abuse continuing within the schools.

To help changes to happen please join :
?Petition found by opening the above link
?Twitter @MandateNow

kittycat68 Tue 30-Apr-13 09:10:02

It is all well and good but alot of the time its a childs word against an adult who can be very manipulative and often children are not belived. this is why it continues within these proffessions. The police are often not interested as there is no direct or independant witnesses to it therefore unlikely to result in a trial.
The whole system is wrong not just a part of it.

byah Tue 30-Apr-13 23:39:25

If it was made against the law not to report abuse (with severe fines or prison for not doing so) it would be a huge step towards protecting children .
It would not matter if the children were believed or not .. what they said would have to be reported and with the law in place police procedure would also have to be open for all to see.

Groovee Wed 01-May-13 09:03:33

It is procedure in our LA to report to the designated child protection officer who then discusses with someone from the management team, then a decision is made. Then a report is made to the Dedicated team at HQ who then investigate it.

kittycat68 Wed 01-May-13 09:14:59

ok so what then happens when the child is not belived. The parent can then be taken to court by the abuser and sued is this going to be covered? and thats apart from the fact that the parent will be seen by the local authoity as a trouble maker, and the school. your argument whilst well intended is flawed.

JaneH99 Thu 02-May-13 06:41:22

The are a number of comments that indicate how easily it is to misunderstand or be misled by what you think 'should' happen.

Do you think the framework that presently exists is working? And where is the evidence? Were you aware that the law protecting children has not changed since pre 1950?

The @MandateNow petition makes clear the shortcomings and evidences the facts. I urge you to read it. No one working with children or vulnerable groups (including the elderly in care homes) is legally required to report concerns, allegations or incidents of abuse up to and including rape of a child to anyone. All too often no report is made by responsible adults - Savile is the classic example and so is the case at Hillside First School in Weston Super Mare which resulted in the conviction of Leat. Why has the former Head not been taken to court and charged for failing to report the allegations that were made to him - well he's broken no law in failing to report 14 years of abuse by Leat. Why were nurses telling children to pretend to be asleep 'if he comes around?' What had been seen, heard, or suspected that had not been reported to the Trust or the police.

And take a look at this recent article in the Guardian if you think everything is working. The first two lines tells you its not working, and the petition explains why not.

How can the so-called 'system' work when a raped child has no statutory right to have even this witnessed abuse reported to the Local Authority Designate Officer. If you do not know what this is,*then here is another reason for reading and signing the petition.*

A simple question - have any of you read the child protection policy of the setting/s in which your children are cared for - would you recognise a bad one? To do so requires you to have a significant understading of the statutory framework and very few parents have this.

byah Thu 02-May-13 10:16:20

Absolutely right Jane ... There are so many cases where abuse has not been reported and many schools involved.. and we live in cloud- cuckoo- land if we think that is all in the past . Abusers are abusing today.
The procedure may be there, Groovee but if the person the child speaks to decides not to report it nothing at all happens, as jane says about that Headmaster. That person should be made by law to repot it or face the full force of the Law. I am sorry but don't agree with you arguments Kittycat . The whole point is to allow children to be listened to and heard. The person they are speaking would have to listen and report it not just brush it aside as the child lying. It does not matter if you are thought a trouble maker if the abuser is stopped and a child protected.

kittycat68 Fri 03-May-13 09:08:19

The point is and this is from personal experience here, that the child is oftrn not belived and it was by someone who worked in a school. this person still works in a school and has had further allegations made about them by a least one other child to my knowlege. without any hard proof it boils down to one persons word against another. the abuser has rights. and the lea in question still view any concerns i have regarding my child as me being a trouble maker and i have had letters from them to this effect.
Forcing parents to put there children through reporting incidents whne they unlikely to be belived , let alone procecuted is not the answer. It is the child that has to go through retelling what has happend to them over and over again and then being told they are making it up etc has long term emotional damage. You only have to look at the statistics of how many abusers are given sentances to see this.
You need to be more child focused and get out of the clouds!!.

peskyginge Fri 03-May-13 09:17:49

Kittycat police take any allegation regarding children very seriously and more often than not they are genuine victims of neglect or abuse. The current system is a slow time referral to the la if the school wish to. Personally I feel schools should have a serious duty of care to report suspicions and pass on concerns as the longer children suffer the more damage is caused as a matter of urgency. Schools are often the only safe environment a child knows.

peskyginge Fri 03-May-13 09:19:06

Sorry x post

StitchAteMySleep Fri 03-May-13 09:44:50

As a parent and a teacher I believe that reporting should be mandatory and I am shocked that a system of mandatory reporting has not already been put in place.

I would rather deal with the risk of a false allegation being investigated fully (even at risk to my career), than the risk of an abused child not being listened to and an abuser being able to carry on abusing them, and/or continue working with children.

The Police have trained officers and work with specialists who would deal with children sensitively, talking about it through play, drawing, dolls etch. Evidence would be done on video, the child would not have to be in court. If the CPS thought conviction unlikely (common in cases with very young children), then at least it would be on record.

JaneH99 Fri 03-May-13 11:42:25

The point of the school initially referring to the LADO is so that an independent assessment of the allegation can be undertaken prior to any further referral onto the police. This first step is clearly important because if a question exists over whether an incident should be referred to other agencies including the police, it is the independent LADO who is trained and equipped to assess and decide as information on the petition site provides. This appears to be a form of safety net and a very good idea. But remember this is not mandatory - indeed a member of staff being required to report an incident to the Head of the institution is not mandatory.

But as the petition and the media reflects, adults not reporting is happening all too frequently because 'guidance' says reporting should happen which is nothing more than a behavioural expectation that carries no sanction for failing to report. This prompted me to download the protection policy for the school attended by my children and I have concluded it is worthless. I intend seeing the Head following further research.

byah Sat 04-May-13 15:30:12

Kittycat68 ... the facts you state about your child and others having problems with a member of staff at school are EXACTLY the reason that reporting should be mandatory..if it was, no one would be able in any way to question your child's word or your right to inform . Of COURSE to protect a person or school the child will not be "believed" . What simpler way for abuse to continue? Every abuser says the child is lying. With a legal mandate forcing a Head or school Governor to report any abuse they are told , all those arguments are disallowed and useless.
The child will be involved but spoken to probably only once by a very well trained child protection officer and is not put through the sort of questioning you suggest . I am being entirely child centred in my information. Mandatory reporting is about hard facts on the side of children and is very grounded indeed ...and nowhere in the clouds.

byah Sat 04-May-13 16:08:32

All JaneH99 says absolutely correct . A school's Child Protection policies is not worth the paper they are written on because, for all they say, they do not have to report abuse to an outside agency . Repeated abuse has continued for years in many schools with the Heads "dealing " with it and nothing actually being done.

byah Sat 04-May-13 16:17:15

Absolutely! StitchAtemysleep.... and great to have a teacher saying it as I am sure there are thousands of good teachers who would like this to happen. The link to sign the mandate is on my first post so lets's help this happen...

insancerre Sat 04-May-13 16:28:07

I don't know about schools but nurseries do have to report any concerns about children's saftety or welfare under the EYFS statutory requirements
para 3.7 states
3.7 Providers must have regard to the Government's statutory guidance ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’. If providers have concerns about children's safety or welfare, they must notify agencies with statutory responsibilities without delay. This means the local children's social care services and, in emergencies, the police.
and this-
3.8 Registered providers must inform Ofsted of any allegations of serious harm or abuse by any person living, working, or looking after children at the premises (whether the allegations relate to harm or abuse committed on the premises or elsewhere). Registered providers must also notify Ofsted of the action taken in respect of the allegations. These notifications must be made as soon as is reasonably practicable, but at the latest within 14 days of the allegations being made. A registered provider who, without reasonable excuse, fails to comply with this requirement, commits an offence.

'must' means you commit an offence if you fail to do so

kittycat68 Sat 04-May-13 16:38:43

TBH my child found it emotionally very difficult going through the process and i wouldnt report if it ever happend again i wouldnt risk putting them through it ( my child took several overdoes afterwards because of it). My child is in a differnet school now and very happy there . I think the whole system is flawed but im not sure that this is the way forward. After all the abuser has soooo many human rights.

byah Sat 04-May-13 17:38:20

What insancerre quotes says is about "guidance" and there is no law at all at the moment if the"must" stated here is not applied . That is where change is sort.

byah Sat 04-May-13 17:45:01

I am really sorry your child had such a bad time .. change in the law will stop this sort of treatment happening to children and the sooner the better..

insancerre Sat 04-May-13 17:58:03

no it's not
it's from the STATUTORY requirements from the STATUTORY Framework for the EYFS
It is the law under the Childcare Act 2006 section 39 (1)(b) and applies to all early years providers, including maintained schools, non-maintained schools, independent schools

JaneH99 Sun 05-May-13 09:55:01

insancerre - you say it 'is the law' under the Childcare Act 2006 - the Act is a significant piece of legislation so I am keen to appreciate precisely what it is you are asserting is law before contributing. You have kindly provided numbered paragraphs and so I am now keen to understand what you believe these clauses deliver? I'm guessing it is a requirement to report allegations and or incidents witnessed of abuse of a child. If you think this is the case, then you are mistaken. Here is the .pdf of the Act. Beware of the word 'Duty' - it is legally meaningless and delivers nothing. I do urge you to read the @MandateNow petition as a great deal of useful information is provided.

byah Sun 05-May-13 10:26:26

Thanks again Jane H99.... my information to pass on is :
"Here is the NSPCC’s ‘Introduction to Child Protection Legislation in the UK’ refer to 3 Para 5 para 5 which states:
“Whilst local authorities have a mandatory duty to investigate if they are informed a child may be at risk, there are no specific mandatory child abuse reporting laws in the UK that require professionals to report their suspicions to the authorities.”
Please provide the statute that underpins 3.7 and the mandates for reporting of child abuse. Be assured it does not exist.
This extract from Child Abuse Law and Policy across boundaries by Professor Laura Hoyano and Dr Caroline Keenan is considered the reference book on child protection in common law countries . In this extract from P444 of the book it states:
(b) Professional identification of child maltreatment
'There is no mandatory reporting law in England and Wales."

There is also no mandatory reporting in Scotland, but there is in Northern Ireland.
There is no law. It is a far easier task to prove the supposed existence of law by producing the statute... rather than the ‘guidance’ produced by the DfE.
With no law in existence, what value is there in the child protection statements in the EYFS document?"

The vital issue is that for all the "guidance" and goodwill it does not work for those who want to continuing their abuse or practices, because there is NO law to back it up. Also without a law it allows those in authority to treat both the child's story with contempt and the parents as "troublemakers" as posts above show.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now