Anyone who works with children and does not report child sexual abuse should be prosecuted, the final report of a huge, seven-year inquiry has recommended.
This could be huge for elders in the UK.
just been on the BBC news. An ex jw was interviewed
In case there is any confusion over the phrase 'works with children,' the article states:
The inquiry says its 20 key recommendations need to be accepted by government as a "matter of urgency".
These include a new law placing a duty to report child abuse on anyone who witnessed it or was told about it by children or perpetrators.
In other words: if the law is created and passed, there will be no way to weasel out of it by questioning what it means by "works with children." If you know, you report. If not, you face criminal prosecution.
Just for clarity, the inquiry is IICSA.
I wonder if any law on reporting will change WTC's 2-witness rule. If the law somehow required them to report the abusers that are chronicled in their 3 CSA databases, would they obey the law or take their chances? I think that the databases have names that they fear will bring the organization down if revealed. I don't expect WTC to be more open, even though Jacson told the ARC that they would find it easier to report if required. They have proved that they will lie under oath, obfuscate and accept large financial losses to shield the pedos that they are aware of within their org.
Also important is that those it's reported to take proper action, otherwise it's not really going to make any difference.
Too much horrific child abuse by grooming gangs has been ignored by authorities and local councils. Anyone who did should be prosecuted. At the very least, they should lose their jobs.
The full report can be read here.
As far as mandatory reporting is concerned the Inquiry recommends (Recommendation 13, p.225):
The following persons should be designated ‘mandated reporters’:
- any person working in regulated activity in relation to children (under the
Safeguarding and Vulnerable Groups Act 2006, as amended);
- any person working in a position of trust (as defined by the Sexual Offences Act
2003, as amended); and
- police officers.
It is interesting that the Inquiry recognised that mandatory reporting could be counter-productive and that there are some instance where it shouldn't apply, even for mandated reporters.
81. Children and young people told the Inquiry that mandatory reporting could discourage children from disclosing sexual abuse for fear of the potential consequences for them, for their families and potentially for their abuser. The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children has separately observed that children might be deterred from accessing support in respect of mental health or sexual or reproductive health if professionals were required to report abuse that they became aware of through such treatment.
82. Some victims and complainants told the Inquiry that when they sought help they wanted the abuse to stop, without wanting there to be any legal consequences. Children and young people have commented that, once a report is made, they may feel a loss of control over this aspect of their lives. They may not be able to decide for themselves whether to engage with the criminal justice system, particularly where the abuser is a peer who they do not necessarily want to see investigated by police and prosecuted in a criminal court. The distress that children and their families might feel at the prospect of a formal investigation into allegations must not be underestimated.
83. It is also possible mandatory reporting could deter families from seeking help and that families are more likely to self-refer where they believe their disclosure will be handled confidentially. Parents may be worried about the consequences of disclosing a concern about sexual abuse in their household if they believe it would lead to the criminal investigation of a family member. Social, familial and economic factors might also influence parents’ decision-making.
85. In the delicate balance between the need to provide an individual child with confidential advice and support (whether medical, psychological, legal or social) and ensuring child sexual abuse is prevented, it is essential to recognise that there are some circumstances where privacy ought to be protected and some where prevention is paramount. One important example is in the context of consensual, non-abusive relationships between young people. In other jurisdictions, mandatory reporting laws provide for exemptions to the duty to report where the child concerned is in a sexual relationship with a person who is near in age to them and where that relationship lacks features of exploitation or coercion. The Inquiry considers that it is desirable that such a measure is included in a new mandatory reporting law.
I should note that the recommendation regarding 'mandated reporters' would not include Jehovah's Witnesses as they are neither a regulated activity in relation to
children, nor in a position of trust (as defined by the
Sexual Offences Act 2003).
I should note that the recommendation regarding 'mandated reporters' would not include Jehovah's Witnesses as they are neither a regulated activity in relation to children, nor in a position of trust (as defined by the Sexual Offences Act 2003).
Hasn`t that been the loophole the JW religion has used in the past and gotten away with it ?
And that loophole needs to be closed .
Certainly the legal requirement to report must include religious leaders including JW Elders and their equivalent in other groups . It needs to be couched in the legal language that is watertight. A situation may not meet the threshold for JW judicial action but who knows what a criminal investigation might throw up?
It was good to see the exJW people interviewed on the BBC . The Beeb knew where to go straight away for child abuse comments.
I think people and organizations will find ways to try to get around any law, but I think in this case the act of charging someone with failure to report is significant in itself. Once the charges are out, the individual (and the organization, most likely) needs to respond, and any attempts at legal maneuvering will be reported. With the WTS, you can be sure that they will get involved immediately in order to protect itself, and hopefully this is where the media spotlight will be shined.
We know that CSA happens and that it happens with horrifying frequency. And we know that there are organizations -including some large religious organizations- that are so determined to protect themselves that they will discard any notion of justice and leave victims strewn about. The most effective way to deal with this problem is to shine a bright light on them when they are acting this way, to shame them into putting the safety and health of children first. The goal is to get these organizations to make it a clear policy to their members-- always report it. The child comes first.