Saturday, 22 February 2014

‘Daniel’s Law’ – a bad idea

I am really sorry to read in the Coventry Telegraph that 97,000 people have now signed a petition calling for it to be made a criminal offence for adults who work with children to fail to report any suspicions of abuse and neglect. 

I’m sure that most of the people who signed the petition are well meaning, and I’m sure that the organisers think that they are doing the right thing. But I believe that a so-called ‘Daniel’s Law’ is likely to have the opposite to the intended effect.

With such a law children are more likely to be unsafe because adults working with them will be constantly covering their backs fearing the possibility of conviction or even imprisonment if they make mistakes and fail to spot abuse at an early stage.

A culture of blame inhibits safety. We do not need the criminal law here. What we require is better training for all adults working with children to help them to recognise the signs of abuse and neglect, which often are not obvious. 

I wish 97,000 people would sign a petition asking for that.