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Teachers in England risk being banned if they fail to disclose any evidence of child sexual abuse

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Plans for new laws introduced by James Cleverly, the home secretary, would ban teachers in England if they do not report evidence of child sexual abuse.

A legal obligation of the new law would be for educators, healthcare providers, and other professionals who work with children and youth to identify and report cases of suspected sexual abuse.

Additionally, it would give police the authority to prevent sexual abusers from changing their names and impose prison terms of up to seven years on anyone who knowingly conceals evidence of child sexual abuse.

“Having listened to the voices of victims and survivors and reviewed the work of the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse, we are working at pace to get a mandatory reporting duty for child sexual abuse on to the statute book,” Cleverly stated. “We will continue to use all levers at our disposal to tackle this horrific crime and keep women and children safe.” The independent inquiry recommended in its final report that professionals and volunteers who work with children must be legally required to disclose cases of sexual abuse if they see it, hear about it from a kid or perpetrator, or if they “recognized indicators” of it.

However, school administrators contended that the law was unnecessary because the Department of Education’s statutory guidelines and Ofsted-inspected safeguarding measures already placed reporting responsibilities on schools and their employees.

“School leaders take children’s safety incredibly seriously and invest time and funding in training and resources to support efforts to tackle all forms of child sexual abuse,” stated Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers. When it comes to safeguarding, they already have a number of legislative obligations, and they are regularly checked against.

“However, schools rely on a wide range of other services when reporting concerns. We are concerned about the current capacity of services such as children’s social care and the police to provide children with the help they need should mandatory reporting lead to an increase in referrals being made.

“It’s vital the government provides these services with sufficient funding to ensure they can cope with demand and are not forced to raise thresholds for intervention.”

“A duty is one important part of the picture, but it’s also vital that all agencies are fully staffed so that agencies can share information, respond to children’s concerns, and ensure access to regular training,” said Daniel Kebede, general secretary of the National Education Union, while praising the plan as “sensible.”

In addition to publishing her recommendations for strengthening safeguarding within the Church of England, Prof. Alexis Jay, who presided over the independent investigation into the handling of historical sexual abuse cases, suggested the creation of two new, independent charities to manage and oversee the institution’s safeguarding procedures.

According to Jay’s investigation, some church members had “weaponized” protection as an excuse to remove people. Safeguarding was consulted in cases involving parishioners involved in adulterous romances and a lay preacher who was charged with “praying too vehemently.” Jay stated that there was frequently no evidence, no clear appeals procedure, or specifics of the accusations in the church’s prior safeguarding investigations.

“This report makes clear that, overall, church safeguarding currently falls below the standards of secular organisations, with inconsistent guidance, data collection, accountability, professional practice and scrutiny,” Jay stated.

“The only way in which all of these concerns could be addressed is by making the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults truly independent of the church through the establishment of two separate charities, one with operational responsibility for safeguarding and the other to provide scrutiny.

“These charities should be funded by the church but structurally independent of them in order to ensure that safeguarding decisions are implemented in full, to provide truly independent scrutiny and to mark an unambiguous change of culture.”

 

Imperial Hospital Sylhet
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Dulal Ahmed Chowdhury

Dulal Ahmed Chowdhury is the Editor of The Daily Dazzling Dawn. Previously, he has been serving in important positions in all the famous national dailies of the Bangladesh since the nineties. He has played a commendable role in journalism by participating in various events at the national and international levels. United Nations Conference, World Climate Conference, SAARC Summit are notable among them.

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