Mandatory Reporting Duty for Child Sexual Abuse

27 February 2024

Last week, the Home Office announced that the Mandatory Reporting Duty for Child Sexual Abuse (CSA MRD) will soon be incorporated as an amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill. There is some limited information describing the plan available here. By making mandatory reporting a legal requirement, the government is delivering on a key recommendation in the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) report.

ASCL’s response to the consultation on mandatory reporting last year makes it clear that ASCL is committed to strengthening safeguarding and fully supportive of measures to enhance safeguarding of pupils in schools. However, in our response to this consultation we contend it is important to recognise the improvements made through KCSIE. ASCL’s recommendation to the Home Office was to exempt schools from the blanket reporting duty which risks overwhelming an under-resourced system and ensure further expectations of education to safeguard young people are made through the KCSIE framework. We are disappointed that the recent announcement suggests there will be blanket changes through new regulations.

The DfE has been clear that the purpose of the CSA MRD is to better protect children, not to unnecessarily criminalise those with responsibility for them. The criminal penalty will only apply where someone deliberately tries to cover up child sexual abuse by preventing reports being made.

The full details of the actual duty will be shared by the Home Office and DfE in the coming weeks.

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