Ruling frees up social workers to get on with job

The Scotsman | 15 April 2015

Children’s needs are paramount, writes Harry Stevenson On 27 March, two social workers from City of Edinburgh Council won their appeal against their conviction for contempt of court. And the entire profession breathed a sigh of relief. Let’s be clear though, we do not support deliberate action to frustrate the role of the courts or Children’s Hearings. 

These are part of the checks and balances we need in order that we as social workers remain accountable for our actions. In his ruling, which supported the actions of the social workers, one of the highest Law Lords in Scotland, Lord Carloway the Lord Justice Clerk, also endorsed and clearly understood the social work profession. That’s a huge relief too for a profession that is often criticised by the media for not taking action.

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Making failure to report sexual abuse a criminal offence not enough on its own to protect children

Sarah Nelson | 14 April 2015

Shocking child abuse scandals have triggered campaigns throughout Britain for legislation making failure to report abuse a criminal offence. A petition calling for "mandatory reporting" in Scotland has been lodged with the Scottish Parliament by campaigner Scott Pattinson. Campaigners say staff in faith settings, schools, sports clubs, other institutions and childcare settings must be legally obliged to report to police and or social services. Who could object to that? Yet many people experienced in working against child abuse and sexual violence have serious worries about the effectiveness of a crusade no-one, including politicians, likes to question. 

They believe it will both encourage complacency and ignore more urgent changes needed before mandatory reporting could make much difference - at least in sexual abuse, the main abuse in recent scandals.

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Progress on the Inquiry

Scottish Government | 14 April 2015

The Scottish Government has been seeking views on the Terms of Reference, and attributes of a Chair and Panel, for the Scottish Inquiry into Historical Child Abuse. The engagement process finished on 26 March.   

Read more about the engagement process and next steps