Not reporting abuse to be criminal offence
New proposed legislation will make it a criminal offence to withhold information about abuse or other serious offences against a child or vulnerable person.
Also, separate legislation will place an obligation on those working with or having access to children to report to the HSE any incidents of abuse or allegations of abuse.
Under the new law, sports clubs or voluntary bodies working with children who fail to implement child protection guidelines under the new law could face being closed down.
In addition to for the first time establishing the offence of withholding information on crimes committed against children, the Bill also provides for exceptions to this in certain cases.
For example, a person such may rely on a defence of failing to disclose such information in circumstances where the child or vulnerable person who was the victims of the offence and who revealed the information requested that it would not be further disclosed.
There are also defences for persons such as a parent or guardian or a medical profesisonal who is acting in the interests of the health and well-being of the child or vulnerable person in not passing on such information.
The new measures have been welcomed by children's groups.
[Posted: Thu 26/04/2012]