New duty on early years practitioners to report abuse

Early years practitioners in England will have a legal duty to report child sexual abuse or face losing their job under new regulations.

Anyone working in a regulated activity relating to children in England, including early years professionals, will be required to make a report if they know a child is being sexually abused.

Those who fail to report child sexual abuse they are aware of face being barred from working with children. Anyone who protects child sexual abusers by intentionally blocking others from reporting or covering up the crime could go to prison for seven years. 

The new measures will be introduced as amendments at report stage of the Criminal Justice Bill in the House of Commons.

Making mandatory reporting a legal requirement was a key recommendation in the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) report.

Minister for Victims and Safeguarding Laura Farris said: “By bringing into force a mandatory duty to report child sexual abuse – the inquiry’s principal recommendation – we are sending a clear message that children will never be let down whether in schools, sports settings or any supervised environment.”

Gabrielle Shaw, chief executive for The National Association for People Abused in Childhood, said: “NAPAC welcomes this important measure by the government that will improve safeguarding of children and increase accountability amongst those who have a duty of care.”

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