The US state of Louisiana has introduced a toll-free hotline on which members of the public and professionals can report concerns of child abuse and neglect.
An official is quoted as saying that the central child abuse reporting hotline has several advantages:
- It achieves greater consistency in determining if a report meets the criteria for child protection investigation
- It allows for a rigorous, multi-level quality assurance process
- Members of staff are involved more quickly and appropriately
- There are reduced waiting times for those phoning in
And, of course, it is available 24/7.
In Britain the NSPCC Helpline offers advice to those concerned about a child. It is not, however, a reporting hotline on the Louisiana model. But modern technology would allow such a hotline to be developed to cover the whole of the UK, or alternatively individual UK countries, regions, urban centres or rural areas.
I think this idea should be examined very seriously. If implemented properly it would not only be an opportunity to improve the quality of service, but it might also reduce administrative costs.