Policy Briefing 4: The Case for Mandatory Reporting of Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect

Kenny, B. (2000). Policy Briefing 4: The Case for Mandatory Reporting of Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect. https://knowledge.barnardos.ie/handle/20.500.13085/860
The past decade has exposed the reality of abuse and neglect, both past and contemporary, visited on children in Ireland. It has highlighted the inadequacy of our collective concern for vulnerable children over many decades, yet driven a series of important measures which have improved our capacity to respond to their needs today. Nevertheless, there is too much in our approach to date that is piecemeal and reactive as opposed to visionary, pioneering and comprehensive. Although a succession of inquiries, official reports and political manifestos have called for the introduction of mandatory reporting of child abuse as one part of the challenge of providing better protection to children, it is still awaited. It has proven to be a very controversial and divisive issue, particularly amongst professionals. Often the debate has centred on the issue of mandatory reporting in isolation. Barnardos has consistently held the view that mandatory reporting is an important element, amongst many others, in strengthening our capacity to deal effectively with the horror of child abuse and neglect. We know that opposing views are held with integrity but we challenge their validity. Yes, we know that mandatory reporting is not without its complexities but, fundamentally, it makes a statement that the physical, sexual and emotional abuse and neglect of children is not acceptable in Ireland nor is the failure to report it. More than anything, it puts children first.