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LGA responds to consultation on mandatory reported of child abuse
Cllr Richard Watts, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People Board, responded to yesterday’s publication of the Government’s response to its consultation on reporting child abuse
“We are pleased that the Government has listened to the concerns of the LGA, local councils and our partners across the public sector and decided against the introduction of mandatory reporting of child abuse.
“Council children’s services teams received a child protection referral every 49 seconds last year, and undertook an average of 500 child protection investigations every day. Ninety children enter care every day in England, and this year saw the biggest annual increase in children in care since 2010. These statistics do not suggest that professionals are routinely failing to identify or report abuse, or that children’s services are reluctant to take action when referrals are received.
“We do not believe that mandatory reporting would have addressed the current challenges in protecting children in the UK. Evidence shows that referrals to the police and children’s social care are already higher than in comparable jurisdictions in other countries with mandatory reporting systems, and rates continue to increase significantly year-on-year.
“Mandatory reporting systems demand an overwhelming focus on the investigation of families rather than the provision of support and the promotion of wellbeing. With children’s services facing a £2 billion funding gap by 2020 and demand for child protection services continuing to increase at a staggering rate, we strongly believe that the Government needs to focus its efforts on providing the resources that councils need to provide early support for children and families before problems become serious.
“The introduction of mandatory reporting would have come with a significant cost. We now urge Government to use the time and money that they will save through this decision to fully fund children’s services and help all children get the bright future they deserve”.
Notes to editors
- The Government’s original consultation document, Reporting and acting on child abuse and neglect, highlighted that the referral rate in the UK was 54.8 per 1,000 children in 2014/15. This is significantly higher than the rates in the USA (47.1) and Australia (37.8), both of which have mandatory reporting systems in place.
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