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Ex-director of public prosecutions - criminal penalty for not reporting child abuse

Keir Starmer, ex-director of public prosecutions, said that teachers and other professionals who do not report child abuse suspicions should face prosecution under a mandatory report law. He felt that a criminal penalty would “focus people’s minds” though the government does not agree and has no plans to change the law. Whilst statutory guidance has been issued previously urging professionals such as teachers, doctors and social workers to report child abuse, failure to do so is not a crime in England, Scotland and Wales. In Northern Ireland, the Criminal Law Act 1967 makes it an offence to fail to disclose an arrestable offence to the police and similar laws are already in place in US, Canada and Australia.

Declassified files uncovered by BBC Panorama evidence how schools and hospitals have repeatedly failed to protect children from sex offenders by not reporting allegations of abuse. The programme: “After Saville: No More Secrets” is televised on BBC1 at 20.30 on the 4th November 2013.

More information available on http://www.bbc.co.uk/news