“There were 4 witnesses on the Moral Maze last night of which I was the last. I was asked to comment on my campaign for Mandatory Reporting in the context of “Turning a Blind Eye and the Law”. The relevance of the subject was that because signs of child abuse have not been reported in the past we need a new law to make it illegal not to report signs of abuse either witnessed or reasonably suspected.
I was questioned by Michael Portillo who was concerned that there would be an obligation on professionals working with children to report mere suspicions that something had happened. I explained that this included an actual complaint by a child that abuse had taken place without it actually being witnessed, the witnessing of suspicious behaviour such as canoodling on the part of, say, a teacher with a pupil, but not mere rumour.
Claire Fox questioned whether the nanny state was infringing civil liberties by expecting the public to report actions by other members of the public, when in reality this was the job of the police, and the state had gone too far in reaching into people’s lives to regulate their behaviour. She also questioned whether we could indeed rely upon the due diligence of the prosecuting authorities to make the correct decisions about whether or not to prosecute in different circumstances.
For instance she asked if a teacher, using my model of mandatory reporting should be obliged to report a relationship between a 17 year old boy and a 12 year old girl. I replied that a teacher should report such behaviour because it was both a criminal offence, and abuse.”
You can listen again to Peter’s discussion on the programme below.