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David Cameron: 'It may be time' for failing to report child abuse to become illegal

"I think it may well be time to take that step forward," said Cameron in regards to whether the U.K. government should pass a law making it illegal not to report child abuse.
By Aileen Graef   |   July 9, 2014 at 11:37 AM   |   Comments

LONDON, July 9 (UPI) -- U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron said in a session of parliament Wednesday that the British government is considering making it illegal to neglect reporting child abuse.

During the prime minister's questions, Labour party leader Ed Miliband raised the point that inquiries into child abuse allegations should be less inhibited.

"All of us have been horrified by the instances of child abuse that have been uncovered and the further allegations that have been made; and all of the victims of child abuse are not just owed justice but are owed and apology that it took so long for their cries to be heard," said Miliband.

Miliband was referring to a sting of child abuse scandals that have made international headlines, including the case of musician Rolf Harris who was recently found guilty of abusing children and keeping their pornographic images. Sky News reports that at least 10 prominent active and former politicians are currently facing accusations of child abuse.

An inquiry, led by U.K. judge Lady Elizabeth Butler-Sloss will investigate how authorities respond to allegations when they involve public figures.

"I think the horror of the Jimmy Savile and Rolf Harris cases just show what people were able to get away with. It was almost as if they were committing crimes in plain sight and it took far too long to get to the bottom of what happened and that is exactly what this government is committed to achieving," said Cameron.

Cameron said the reviews will help the government consider changing the laws in order to prevent cover-ups for the sake of avoiding criminal charges and scandal.

"Should we change the law so there is a requirement to report and make it a criminal offense not to report [child abuse]? The government is currently looking at that. Of course both reviews will be able to examine this particular point and advise us accordingly and I it may well be time to take that sort of step forward."

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