Change the law to better protect vulnerable children like Daniel Pelka
  • Petitioning Nick Clegg

This petition will be delivered to:

Deputy Prime Minister
Nick Clegg
Secretary of State for Education
Michael Gove
Justice Secretary
Chris Grayling

Change the law to better protect vulnerable children like Daniel Pelka

    1. Paula Barrow
    2. Petition by

      Paula Barrow

      Manchester, United Kingdom

This four-year-old child was starved and beaten over a period of months, before his death at the hands of his mother and step-father. The evidence of his suffering was in full view of staff at his school, who observed his desperate attempts to forage for food and his severe weight-loss, along with multiple visible injuries including black eyes, broken bones and strangulation marks.

As a mother of two young children, I am deeply affected by Daniel's story and extremely concerned that many of the circumstances surrounding his death are all too reminiscent of other appalling cases of child abuse over recent years. Once again, we learn how staff with a professional 'duty of care' for the safety and wellbeing of a vulnerable child failed to take the necessary action to save his life.

Daniel’s case highlights the urgent need for new legislation requiring the mandatory reporting of child abuse for people who work with children, as already exists in many other countries - as of 2012, there were mandatory reporting laws in Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, South Africa, Sweden and USA to name but a few. Everyone needs to understand this critical hole in our law - there is currently no legal requirement of anyone working with children to report suspected or known abuse to either the appropriate local authority officer (the LADO) or to the police. Although child abuse is of course a crime, reporting it is – unbelievably - entirely discretionary.

Along with many others, I find it incomprehensible that teachers, teaching assistants and other staff in Daniel’s school did not do more to help him. It is not that they did not notice his suffering – they did. Daniel’s injuries were internally discussed, but not formally documented and reported. As Geoffrey Robinson, MP for Coventry North West, said “bureaucracy triumphed over common sense, care, and compassion... people seeing a kid beaten, starved to death in our own country... you can’t just say there is nothing we can do about it."

Mandatory reporting laws not only help protect vulnerable children, they also give staff important legislative support when confronted with exceptionally difficult circumstances. Time and again, serious case reviews show that staff are aware child abuse is occurring but fail to report it for many reasons, including fear of somehow getting it wrong, being branded a trouble-maker or a whistle-blower etc. Daniel was literally struggling to survive in full view of staff at his school and yet no one intervened to help him. If mandatory reporting laws had been in place, perhaps our system would not have failed him as it so tragically did.

The first ‘serious case review’ into the circumstances surrounding Daniel’s death was published in September 2013; it points to mandatory reporting models in other countries for consideration. Edward Timpson, Minister for Children was dismissive at that time but asked Coventry City Council to ‘dig deeper’ into reasons for multiple failings. This second report, released on February 5 2014, cites 'poor judgment' as the reason staff at Daniel's school collectively failed to report - this is further evidence of the need for new legislation. As long as reporting remains discretionary, our safeguarding framework willl be fundamentally compromised and staff will remain uncertain, unconfident and unsupported in very difficult circumstances.

Now is the time to petition for change, to make it a legal obligation for staff in regulated activities to protect and safeguard the well-being of vulnerable children. As Nick Clegg said of Daniel’s case "Clearly people must have seen something was wrong with this boy, I think his death should be on all of our consciences."

Please sign my petition for a new law in memory of Daniel Pelka.

Sooner or later, another child's life wiil depend on this www.danielslaw.co.uk 

 

@MandateNow now represents the campaign for Daniel's Law politically and legislatively; the Mandate Now coalition of charities shares our objective for the introduction of Mandatory Reporting in all Regulated Activities.

 

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Cameron says it 'may be time' to introduce mandatory reporting law

      Paula Barrow
      Petition Organizer

      "Should we change the law so that there is a requirement to report and make it a criminal offence not to report?" Mr Cameron said during Prime Minister's Questions. Comments followed the NSPCC's welcome and spectacular U-turn on the mandatory reporting of child abuse earlier today. The NSPCC's initial proposals fall far short of what is required, they currently apply only to residential settings... but this is significant progress and a great indication that public pressure is making a difference. Please do all you can to support the campaign for Daniel's Law whilst media interest is once again at a peak and whilst government is forced to face this important hole in the law, in light of the call for independent inquiries. 108K+ have signed so far, our growing numbers make us simply impossible to ignore...

      Cameron hints at abuse law change

      David Cameron has told MPs "it may well be time" to change the law to enforce mandatory reporting of child abuse. It comes after the head of a review into historical allegations of child abuse urged prosecution for people who cover up such crimes.

    2. Every school in Coventry will now follow a model safeguarding policy

      Paula Barrow
      Petition Organizer

      'The changes follow a meeting between the council and campaigners Jonathan West and Paula Barrow about the way schools in the city protect children'. This is a tangible result for all supporters of the campaign for Daniel's Law. Coventry will pilot best practice from September... please keep signing and, with our growing numbers and political support, we will achieve our goal and make it law for staff to report abuse.

      Daniel Pelka: New Coventry City Council rule to avoid repeat of tragedy

      Every school in city will now have to follow a model safeguarding policy Child safety concerns will have to be reported to the authorities as Coventry City Council attempts to avoid a repeat of the Daniel Pelka tragedy. The new rule will be included in a model safeguarding policy set to be used by every school in Coventry.

    3. Reached 100,000 signatures
    4. Gove has 'change of heart' on mandatory reporting in regulated settings

      Paula Barrow
      Petition Organizer

      We are getting there. Yesterday, Michael Gove told the Commons 'the specific case for mandatory reporting in regulated settings is one that we are reviewing', as Campaign for Daniel's Law steadily approaches an important 100K landmark. http://www.coventryobserver.co.uk/2014/03/19/news-Daniel's-Law-petition-edges-closer-to-100,000-target-99447.html

    5. Reached 75,000 signatures
    6. Coventry Observer backs Daniel's Law - front page call for 100K signatures

      Paula Barrow
      Petition Organizer

      As well as ongoing support from the Coventry Observer, we now have a dedicated campaign website where you can find the latest updates - see www.danielslaw.co.uk for full versions of the letter I received from Michael Gove in response to our petition along with my reply, plus much more.

      Campaign for Daniel's Law - Coventry Observer - Do it for Daniel

      Coventry Observer backs Daniel's Law with call for 100,000 signatures! Amazing coverage, amazing support.

    7. The Guardian highlights campaign - call for debate of Daniel's Law

      Paula Barrow
      Petition Organizer

      We achieved much media coverage on September 16 and 17 - we delivered 50,000 signatures to Downing Street the day before the Coventry Serious Case Review into Daniel's death reported.

      Daniel Pelka: call for debate on mandatory reporting of child abuse

      Pressure is growing for a national debate on mandatory reporting of child abuse after a damning report exposed how teachers, health professionals, social workers and police officers failed Daniel Pelka, the four-year-old tortured, starved and beaten to death by his mother and stepfather.

    8. Reached 50,000 signatures
    9. Coventry Telegraph supports campaign for 'Daniel's Law'

      Paula Barrow
      Petition Organizer

      I sent a full update yesterday, but since I pressed 'send' we have achieved another 1,750 signatures - I just wanted to make sure everyone who signed more recently knows of the Coventry Telegraph's support and has the link to share.

      http://www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/coventry-news/daniel-pelka-campaign-new-law-5673254

      More to follow soon.

      Many thanks.
      Paula

      Daniel Pelka: Campaign for new law to protect vulnerable children like murdered Coventry boy

      Home News Top News Sport Top Sport What's On Top What's On Lifestyle Lifestyle In Your Area Buy, Sell & Tell Thousands sign online petition demanding a law forcing teachers to take action if they suspect a child is being abused Thousands of people have backed a campaign calling on the law to be changed to protect vulnerable children like Daniel Pelka.

    10. Reached 8,000 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • eddy ranson SUNDERLAND, UNITED KINGDOM
      • about 3 hours ago

      The anxiety that may be created if a person is simply weary about a child being prone to abuse will be negated, and so involving police will either stop any child abuse that may actually be occurring, or still be a form of warning to the parent(s), who may be close to causing harm to a child.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Chrissie Spencer ARRINGTON, UNITED KINGDOM
      • about 5 hours ago

      No child should suffer this way when responsible adults suspect that something is wrong.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Mark Dale NOTTINGHAM, UNITED KINGDOM
      • about 5 hours ago

      The protection of children is a paramount issue for any society. Adults must be held to account for their actions in this regard, including any failure to act.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • patricia belsham ORPINGTON, UNITED KINGDOM
      • about 6 hours ago

      I have grandchildren

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Jeffrey Boot LEEDS, UNITED KINGDOM
      • about 7 hours ago

      Children are our future , if they live an happy life , then they will do the same to their offspring .

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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