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Key report on child protection to be debated

Child protection policy in the Island will be at the centre of debate in Tynwald this week.

A social affairs parliamentary scrutiny committee will present a wide-ranging report, along with eight recommendations for improvement. 

Among issues raised - the over referral of children thought to be in danger, to social services. 

The committee also calls for the false reporting of child abuse to be made a criminal offence.

There's been a mixed reaction to the report from the Council of Ministers, whose response is also in the Tynwald Order Paper.

The committee says the Protecting Children Board should review procedures and ensure abuse concerns are dealt with initially on a local level 'by the agency of first instance', and only referred to social services where necessary.

Council of Ministers wants to amend that, saying some apparently unnecessary referrals are crucial requests for support and help. 

And CoMin rejects a call for a new false reporting offence, saying current legislation in the Criminal Code, such as malicious defamation and wasting police time, will suffice.

The committee calls on the authorities involved in cases to work with the Data Protection Supervisor to find new ways of sharing  information.

CoMin says it agrees, but warns against 'a dangerous reluctance' to share information, due to what it calls the supervisor's 'rigid position'.  

Tynwald sits at 1030 Tuesday 16 June. 

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