The head of the NSPCC, who is leading a review into the Home Office's handling of abuse allegations, said failing to report crimes against children should be an offence.
Not mentioning abuse in order to save an organisation's reputation should be a crime, chief executive Peter Wanless told the BBC.
If someone consciously knows that there is a crime committed against a child, and does nothing about it because they put the reputation of the organisation above the safety of that child, that should be a criminal offence.
Mr Wanless's comments were "hugely welcome" and "a really significant U-turn for the NSPCC", the chief executive of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, Peter Saunders, said.
The charity had previously said it felt "criminal sanction against those who hesitate is unfair".
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