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Mandatory Reporting of Abuse: The government response and a call for evidence


Following the final report published by the Inquiry in October 2022, along with increased calls for stronger reporting duties to be imposed in relation to the reporting of abuse, the government has now issued its response to this recommendation, which was one of the centrepieces of the Inquiry’s work.

Lauranne Nolan, Associate in Keoghs specialist abuse team, previously discussed this recommendation following the final report here, in addition to another article regarding the Regulated and Other Activities (Mandatory Reporting of Child Sexual Abuse) Bill which has been presented to the House of Lords and can be found here.

Lauranne discusses the response by the government and the next steps.

The recommendation

The Inquiry recommended that legislation be introduced which places certain individuals under a statutory duty to report child sexual abuse where they:

  • receive a disclosure of child sexual abuse from a child or perpetrator; or
  • witness a child being sexually abused; or
  • observe recognised indicators of child sexual abuse.

These individuals would be known as ‘mandated reporters’ and the following people would be designated as such:

  •  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 also recommended that failing to make a report would be a criminal offence, placing the duty on the individual.

The response

The government has accepted this recommendation and agreed to implement a mandatory reporting regime for child sexual abuse, which will be informed by a full public consultation. The government also accepted that implementing a new mandatory reporting duty could improve the protection and safeguarding of children as well as holding to account those who fail in their responsibilities.

Call for evidence

The government is seeking consultation from persons working in regulated activity, volunteers undertaking regulated activity, anyone working with children in any capacity, people working in positions of trust, police officers, local authorities, NHS trusts, and those working in education settings as well as members of the public.

The government is seeking views on how implementing this duty is likely to impact children and organisations as well as affected workforces and volunteers and how different aspects could be implemented, for example if the duty should relate to child sexual abuse only or be extended to cover other forms of abuse and neglect.

The government has highlighted the following key considerations that this call for evidence can assist with:

  • Who the duty should apply to.
  • Whether the duty should apply to known or suspected individuals.
  • What the consequences of failing to report should be.
  • What exemptions should apply to the reporting duty.
  • What protections will be in place for mandatory reporters.

The consultation is due to last until Monday 14 August 2023 with a response to be published within 12 weeks of this date.


Lauranne Nolan - Associate

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