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ADCS warns councils could be overwhelmed by mandatory child sexual abuse reporting

The Association of Directors of Children’s Services has warned that government plans to make the reporting of child sexual abuse a legal requirement for some professionals may well overwhelm councils with referrals and divert them away from providing support for families.

John Pearce, ADCS President warned ‘We believe the proposal for mandatory reporting needs careful consideration and it is important the call for evidence is thorough and any implementation is evidence based. Currently, the evidence does not suggest this offers greater protections for children or improves their outcomes, however, it could have the unintended consequence of overwhelming local services requiring a pivot away from the provision of help and support to assessment and investigation.’

He continued ‘The introduction of a similar duty in some parts of Australia led to a significant influx in contacts, most of which were unsubstantiated and there are also other international examples we can learn from.’

Pearce said that ‘the most common reason people do not report abuse and neglect is because they don’t recognise it for what it is’ and instead called for all professionals and communities to be more aware of the signs of child abuse and how best to raise concerns with the appropriate agency.

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Published on 5th June 2023