Failure to report child abuse 'should be criminal offence'

Failing to report allegations of child sexual abuse should be made a criminal offence, the former director of public prosecutions has said.

Speaking on BBC Panorama, Keir Starmer said it should be "mandatory" to report allegations.

"I think the time has come to change the law and close a gap that's been there for a very long time."

Keir Starmer
Last month Keir Starmer called new child abuse guidelines the biggest shift in attitude in the criminal justice system "for a generation". Credit: PA

"The problem is if you haven't got a central provision requiring people to report, then all you can do is fall back on other provisions that aren't really designed for that purpose and that usually means they run into difficulties.

"What you really need is a clear, direct law that everybody understands."

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Call for new child abuse law

Failing to report allegations of child sexual abuse should be made a criminal offence, the former director of public prosecutions Keir Starmer has said. There have been calls to change the law to avoid any repeat of the Jimmy Savile scandal.