Law 'still failing to protect children from abuse'

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

THE LAW is failing to protect children from physical and mental abuse despite a succession of major reforms and inquiry reports, according to a report published yesterday, writes Nick Walker.

One scandal too many . . ., published by the Gulbenkian Foundation, calls for the promotion of children's rights and reform of UK child law to bring it closer into line with the 1991 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Sir Stephen Brown, President of the Family Division of the High Court, says in a foreword: 'The passing of the Children Act 1989 has focused attention on the continuing need to protect children. Despite the progressive introduction of statutory safeguards, ill treatment and serious abuse remain prevalent.'

The Gulbenkian Foundation sought to summarise existing safeguards following the implementation of the 1989 Children Act in 1991. A working group was asked to indicate the reforms needed to provide an adequate and consistent framework of protection for children.

The key recommendations of the report include a statement of positive principles of care in child law, anti-bullying policies, and government-supported information campaigns to encourage positive, non-violent childcare.

One scandal too many. . .; Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, 98 Portland Place, London W1N 4ET; pounds 10.50.