The mother of murdered eight-year-old Sarah Payne has welcomed planned new laws to safeguard youngsters as a “turning point for child protection”. Measures include a legal duty for those working or volunteering with children to report sexual abuse fears.
Those covered by the new law will include teachers, social workers, and religious leaders.
This followed an inquiry that revealed thousands of victims were let down by professionals who ignored their suffering.
The rules will also speed the process for the public to find out if someone they know has committed child abuse.
That change was brought in under Sarah’s Law, named after Sarah Payne, who was murdered by convicted paedophile Roy Whiting in 2000.
The updated guidance for the Child Sex Offender’s Disclosure Scheme will reduce the time for police to respond to inquiries.
Sarah’s mother, Sara Payne MBE, said: “After my Sarah’s murder, I promised her that her death would not be in vain or forgotten.
Since 2010, after years of campaigning, so many children have been protected in her name, a much more fitting epitaph to my princess.
“There is always more to do. This is a historic turning point day today for child protection and I welcome these much-needed changes to Sarah’s Law 2023.”
Home Secretary Suella Braverman said: “Child sexual abuse is one of the most horrific crimes, it devastates victims, families and communities.”
The move follows a damning report by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, which revealed children were being ignored, disbelieved or even blamed for their own abuse.
The inquiry, prompted by Jimmy Savile’s crimes, revealed that schools ignored complaints from pupils, religious bodies protected perpetrators and council staff took the side of foster parents accused of abuse.
It said: “The inquiry has concluded that mandatory reporting is required so those who work with children in certain roles report child sexual abuse to the police or social services.”
Ms Braverman has accepted the recommendation and is consulting professionals, volunteers, parents, victims and survivors as well as the wider public before bringing in legislation.
She said: “Every adult must be supported to call out child sexual abuse without fear. “That’s why I’m introducing a mandatory reporting duty and launching a call for evidence.”
The Government is also providing £600,000 to an NSPCC whistleblowing helpline for professionals who fear their organisation is not handling child abuse cases appropriately.
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