Simon Danczuk calls for the Government to back child protection change

Date published: 20 February 2015

Rochdale’s MP Simon Danczuk has called on the Government to back a change to the law to ensure that front-line workers such as teachers and social workers have a legal duty to report suspicions of child abuse.

Labour has tabled an amendment to the Serious Crimes Bill to bring in the change and a vote on the issue is expected on Monday. The amendment has been drawn up with the help of legal experts and would involve possible jail sentences for professionals who fail to report suspicions of abuse.

This system is already in force in a number of counties including the United States and recently won the support of former Director of Public Prosecutions Sir Keir Starmer.

Mr Danczuk was named Political Campaigner of the Year 2014 for his work on child abuse and has been calling for mandatory reporting to be introduced for a number of years.

Speaking in advance of the vote on Monday, Mr Danczuk said: “On Monday I would hope to see MPs vote on Labour's amendment to introduce a legal duty for frontline professionals to alert the police to suspected child abuse – and this would represent a major breakthrough in child protection.

"Across the country we’ve now seen numerous cases where child abuse was covered up and in my constituency we’ve paid a heavy price as professionals turned a blind eye to a major grooming scandal.

“I’ve long held the view that we need a mandatory reporting of abuse law like they have in other countries.

"During this Parliament there’s been a lot of resistance to this change but I think we’ve now reached a tipping point and politicians recognise that our child protection laws are not good enough. It’s time Parliament did the right thing.

"Labour has drafted this amendment with the help of leading QCs, so there is really no excuse for the Government and MPs to not support this. On Monday we have a real chance to turn words into action and take a decisive step towards ensuring that child abuse cannot be ignored or covered up any longer.”

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