Expert on abuse law: mandatory reporting proposals “lack teeth”


Government proposals to introduce mandatory reporting (MR) of child sexual abuse “lack teeth” and should be abandoned and replaced with much stronger laws, an expert on abuse law has said.

Richard Scorer, head of abuse law and public inquiries at Slater Gordon and vice president of the National Secular Society, said the lack of criminal penalties for non-reporting meant the proposals were not MR “in any meaningful sense”.

Organisations which had covered up abuse – including religious groups – are “unlikely to be troubled” by the proposed law, he said, although he welcomed the fact there was “no confessional exemption for religious groups”.

Scorer said the proposals should be replaced with a law that “can prevent cover up of the kind we have seen happen so extensively in religious settings”.

Lobbying for religious exemptions to mandatory reporting

The government published legislative proposals to introduce MR earlier this week following a public consultation last year.

In its response to the consultation, the NSS said there should be no religious exemptions to MR, including abuse revealed during the rite of confession. This was in keeping with the recommendation of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA).

In countries including Ireland and Australia, the Catholic Church has resisted laws which would require a priest who heard disclosures of child sexual abuse during confession to report the incident to the authorities.

Additionally, eight Church of England bishops, including one member of the bishops’ bench, lobbied against MR applying to confession.

In its official response, the Church of England answered “Don’t know” to a question asking whether there should be exemptions to MR.

IICSA concluded the Church of England was a ‘hiding place’ for sexual abusers and senior clergy had prioritised its reputation over the wellbeing of victims and survivors.

A new consultation on the statute of limitations in cases of child sexual abuse was launched today. Scorer has called for time limits for child abuse civil claims to be abolished.



Source link

Add a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Keep Up to Date with the Most Important News

By pressing the Subscribe button, you confirm that you have read and are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use
Advertisement