Michael Gove is not known for being shy and retiring when it comes to forcing decisions on the nation’s schools. Yet rather curiously he has disclosed that he has no intention of intervening to ensure that when children are sexually abused in the nation’s state funded and private schools that the incident should be reported.
My colleagues Frederika Whitehead and Mark Conrad have written the full story for Exaro News ( see http://www.exaronews.com/articles/4999/michael-gove-blocks-move-to-force-schools-to-report-sex-abuse) .
Put simply he has written to Cheryl Gillan, the ex-minister and Tory MP for nearby Chesham and Amersham, saying that he is against mandatory reporting of allegations to the specific local officer because it could ” swamp ” officialdom ” with every incident reported”. He says : ” schools should be trusted to make their own professional judgement ” to report the matter.
This statement is extraordinary for two reasons. Why does Gove think authorities are going to be swamped? Does he think they are loads of kids in the nation’s schools waiting to accuse their teachers of sexual abuse? Or does he suspect, as the abused tell us, that this much more widespread than we realise and he frankly doesn’t want to know?
Also sadly the idea of relying on schools to use their professional judgement to report sexual abuse cases appears to be rather hollow from my experience. In the investigations I have covered what appears to happen is that schools and social services are prone to cover this up. Both the London borough of Richmond and the Roman Catholic Salesian order have paid off victims and in the case of the Salesians got the person to sign a gagging order not to reveal what happened. This results in the perpetrators often being moved to avoid a scandal and getting new jobs elsewhere where they repeat the pattern, Jimmy Savile style.
I am sure that Michael Gove is not a supporter of paedophilia nor am I accusing or even inferring in the headline that he is remotely sympathetic to child abusers. But unwittingly by not doing so he is giving aid and comfort to those who want this hushed up. My accusation against Gove is more dereliction of duty as secretary of state for education in not providing the protection of the law for children who are sexually abused. I know from other sources that the Metropolitan Police Paedophile Unit take a similar view.