Duty to report child abuse proposed in Wales
OFFICIALS in Cardiff are looking at introducing a duty on professionals to report suspicions of child abuse.
The Welsh Government's Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Bill, currently going through the Senedd, proposes to place a duty on people who work with "adults at risk" to report abuse.
However officials are proposing to amend the bill to place a similar duty to tell a local authority where there are reasonable suspicions a child might be being abused.
It is currently unclear who would be subject to the requirement - however provisions for adults in the bill cover the health service and the police.
Campaigners said the proposal fell short of what was required to protect children.
A Welsh Government spokeswoman said: "The Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Bill sets out a range of measures to strengthen safeguarding and protection arrangements for children and adults at risk in Wales.
"While it will introduce a new legal framework to protect adults at risk, which includes placing a duty to report suspected adult abuse on a range of key partners, no such legal requirement exists to help protect children.
"It is proposed that a government amendment will be introduced at stage two of the scrutiny process to place a similar duty to inform a local authority where there is reasonable cause to suspect that a child might be at risk of, or is experiencing, abuse or neglect."
Pete Saunders, chief executive of National Association for People Abused in Childhood, said: "Plans to introduce mandatory reporting of child abuse in Wales are a step in the right direction, but still fall a long way short of what is required to protect children.
"Professionals who work with children need a clear legal obligation to inform the local authority of all incidents where abuse is alleged, suspected or known so that independent assessment can be introduced at the earliest stage. Such legislation would also have an enormous preventative effect and provide children with statutory protection they do not presently have."
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