ATL comment on improving prevention and identification of child sexual abuse
| Association of Teachers and Lecturers
Commenting on the report on child sex abuse by the Childrens Commissioner for England, Dr Mary Bousted said:
“We all want to ensure children do not fall victim to sexual exploitation.
“We have been lobbying to get personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) lessons made compulsory to give children the information to know if they have a relationship that is not healthy or safe and the confidence to speak out.
“We support schools having a whole-school approach to child protection. Schools are already required to follow stringent safeguarding procedures to protect pupils, and teachers are highly aware of their responsibilities to protect pupils and keep them safe from all forms of abuse.
“We agree that teachers, and all school staff, should be trained to recognise the signs and symptoms of child sexual abuse and that this should form part of teachers’ professional development and initial training, whichever route they take into teaching. Members would support the idea of a social worker based in schools to handle suspected cases of abuse.
“Joined up working is vital, but to take place effectively it needs funding. Teachers tell us that joined up working among children’s professionals, including social workers, health workers and the police, is problematic and in too many cases intervention is delayed, or does not happen, because of high case loads and inadequate resources.
“The Government needs to invest in training and development for all professionals involved in the protection of children and provide the funding to enable the relevant public bodies to deal with their case loads and work together. Without that investment, no amount of resolve will succeed in safeguarding children.”