Headlines: February 5th, 1999

A police inspection report and an inter departmental working group have recommended a joined up response to child abuse. In 1997 there were some 13,000 offences against children under 14.

A report by her Majesty’ s Inspector of Constabulary emphasises the importance of intelligence in the fight against abuse and recommended that not only should police forces share information, but that this should be extended to social services and the probation service. It also recommended that polices forces should work in partnership with other public bodies such as education, health and social services with and voluntary organisations. It stressed the importance of everyone ‘talking the same language’.

The inter-departmental working group, which examined ways in which unsuitable people can be prevented from working with children, recommended an integrated system response. The group proposed that the Criminal Records Bureau should become a one-stop-shop for checking the records of those applying to work with children. The use of the Bureau in this way will require legislation and it is planned to secure a change through a Private Members Bill.

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