Thousand hands of Avalokiteshvara

Proposed mandatory reporting of child sexual abuse in England and Wales

On Thu, 20 October, 2022 - 17:43
ECA Safeguarding's picture
ECA Safeguarding

This week has seen publication of the final report from the long-running government enquiry into child sexual abuse in England and Wales, which recommends that it be made a criminal offence for a person who works with children or is in a ‘position of trust’ to fail to report child sexual abuse to the police where they witness it or are told about it by a child or perpetrator.

Over the last seven years, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) has held a series of hearings, including its 2020 hearings on child protection in smaller faith groups to which Munisha was called to give testimony.

in relation to child sexual abuse in faith settings IICSA says:

“The Inquiry heard numerous examples of individuals who received disclosures or were aware of child sexual abuse yet failed to report this to statutory authorities…

Respect for a diversity of beliefs is the hallmark of a liberal democracy but can never be used to justify harm to a child. There were significant barriers to effective reporting of child sexual abuse, including victim-blaming and notions of shame and honour…

Not all religious organisations had adequate child protection policies, despite the advice readily accessible in the public domain. In some, safe recruitment practices were not always followed and there was limited uptake of child protection training… While some religious organisations had effective systems in place for responding to child sexual abuse, this was not the case across the board. Very few had arrangements in place for the provision of counselling or therapy sessions for victims and survivors.”

It is probable that this report will lead to a change in the law in England and Wales, where the majority of Triratna’s UK charities are registered. It remains to be clarified exactly who in Triratna would be covered by this new law.

Read IICSA’s report in summary or full.

Read the BBC’s report.

Read a post about the IICSA report ‘Child protection in religious organisations & settings’.

Watch Munisha’s testimony.

Read all previous posts about IICSA’s work.