Remove Qualified Privilege

The defense of qualified privilege permits persons in positions of authority or trust to make statements or relay or report statements that would be considered slander and libel if made by anyone else.  (Definition courtesy of wikipedia).  Qualified privilege is frequently quoted as a defence by people reporting "concerns" about others or by public bodies to prevent [eg Child Protection] concerns being surpressed.  

Although the defence of qualified privilege may be defeated if the accusation is shown to be malicious, this is incredibly difficult to prove in court.  in practice what happens is that many, many frivolous concerns are raised wasting a lot of people's time.  There is no requirement for any substantiation to an allegation and knowledge that workers have this defence reduce the onus on them to be professional.  

False accusations wreck families.  Anyone can submit a referral for the most bizarre and weird interpretations of childrens innocent conversation without making any effort to engage further with the child to understand what was meant.  Once submitted, it can not be deleted, however incompetent the person who raised the referral.  Is this justice?

We must record acurrate statistics for the number of Child Protection referrals which are NOT investigated by Social Services so we can state the % of false accusationseach year.  Current Home Office Statics and (brilliant) false accusation support organisations estimate it to be around 40%. 

If the defence of qualified privilege is removed, then people submitting child protection referrals will require more than snippets of a child's conversation to accuse you.  They will be forced to be competent by statute. 

Fewer referrals will mean more resources to dedicate to the serious cases of child abuse, many of which have dominated the news recently. 

The measure of whether this has been achieved will be an increase in the % of referrals progressing to the next stage (case hearing) ie the dross is eliminated leaving Social Work only the [more] serious cases to concentrate on. 

Why is this idea important?

The defense of qualified privilege permits persons in positions of authority or trust to make statements or relay or report statements that would be considered slander and libel if made by anyone else.  (Definition courtesy of wikipedia).  Qualified privilege is frequently quoted as a defence by people reporting "concerns" about others or by public bodies to prevent [eg Child Protection] concerns being surpressed.  

Although the defence of qualified privilege may be defeated if the accusation is shown to be malicious, this is incredibly difficult to prove in court.  in practice what happens is that many, many frivolous concerns are raised wasting a lot of people's time.  There is no requirement for any substantiation to an allegation and knowledge that workers have this defence reduce the onus on them to be professional.  

False accusations wreck families.  Anyone can submit a referral for the most bizarre and weird interpretations of childrens innocent conversation without making any effort to engage further with the child to understand what was meant.  Once submitted, it can not be deleted, however incompetent the person who raised the referral.  Is this justice?

We must record acurrate statistics for the number of Child Protection referrals which are NOT investigated by Social Services so we can state the % of false accusationseach year.  Current Home Office Statics and (brilliant) false accusation support organisations estimate it to be around 40%. 

If the defence of qualified privilege is removed, then people submitting child protection referrals will require more than snippets of a child's conversation to accuse you.  They will be forced to be competent by statute. 

Fewer referrals will mean more resources to dedicate to the serious cases of child abuse, many of which have dominated the news recently. 

The measure of whether this has been achieved will be an increase in the % of referrals progressing to the next stage (case hearing) ie the dross is eliminated leaving Social Work only the [more] serious cases to concentrate on. 

FACT (Falsely Accused Carers and Teachers) calls for repealo of Section 115 Police Act

I am national secretary of FACT (Falsely Accused Carers and Teachers) www.factuk.org and run their help line. Virtually every day someone rings us over CRB issues affecting Enhanced Certificates of Disclosure. 

At present the law allows Chief Constables to share police intelligence with prospective employers for individuals who require an enhanced certificate of disclosure,

Enhanced CRB's are required by all teachers, care workers, health care professionals, youth workers, workers engaged in community activities with children and/or vulnerable adults/groups – vast numbers of people.

The Chief Constable has absolute discretion to share what ever information he/she feels is relevant. This could include mere gossip, information shared with the police by other agencies e.g social services, or information gathered by the police in the course of their work and irrespective of whether the prospective employer was involved in criminal activity or not.

As a result the police now routinely record the fact that an allegation was made against the prospective employee on enhanced CRBs even though they may have been cleared of any wrong doing by an employer or by a Court.

They also routinely record the fact that a person appeared before a Court even if he/she was found not guilty and was told they leave the Court with their reputation intact. 

Adverse comments on a CRB basically result in that person being unemployable. What is needed is complete repeal of Section 115(7) of the Police Act 1997 or some kind of system which allows for only such information to be placed on it for a limited time (as is the case in the rehab of offenders act)and provides for a proper appeal process. At the moment all you can do is make representation about the content of the disclosure which is invariably ignored. There is no right of appeal. 

THIS IS A VERY SERIOUS PROBLEM WHICH AFFECTS THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE EVERY YEAR AND FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES. 


For further information you might like to read the report of the Children, Schools and Families Subcommittee Report in 2009 which touched on indiscipline in schools which referred to this matter and the Home Affairs Select Committee Report on Past Abuse in Children's Homes (on which David Cameron served) which was published in 2002. Both these reports highlight some of the injustices felt by carers and teachers on these issues. 

Our organisation FACT (Falsely Accused Carers and Teachers)would be pleased to provide further information mailto:sec@factuk.org

Why is this idea important?

I am national secretary of FACT (Falsely Accused Carers and Teachers) www.factuk.org and run their help line. Virtually every day someone rings us over CRB issues affecting Enhanced Certificates of Disclosure. 

At present the law allows Chief Constables to share police intelligence with prospective employers for individuals who require an enhanced certificate of disclosure,

Enhanced CRB's are required by all teachers, care workers, health care professionals, youth workers, workers engaged in community activities with children and/or vulnerable adults/groups – vast numbers of people.

The Chief Constable has absolute discretion to share what ever information he/she feels is relevant. This could include mere gossip, information shared with the police by other agencies e.g social services, or information gathered by the police in the course of their work and irrespective of whether the prospective employer was involved in criminal activity or not.

As a result the police now routinely record the fact that an allegation was made against the prospective employee on enhanced CRBs even though they may have been cleared of any wrong doing by an employer or by a Court.

They also routinely record the fact that a person appeared before a Court even if he/she was found not guilty and was told they leave the Court with their reputation intact. 

Adverse comments on a CRB basically result in that person being unemployable. What is needed is complete repeal of Section 115(7) of the Police Act 1997 or some kind of system which allows for only such information to be placed on it for a limited time (as is the case in the rehab of offenders act)and provides for a proper appeal process. At the moment all you can do is make representation about the content of the disclosure which is invariably ignored. There is no right of appeal. 

THIS IS A VERY SERIOUS PROBLEM WHICH AFFECTS THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE EVERY YEAR AND FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES. 


For further information you might like to read the report of the Children, Schools and Families Subcommittee Report in 2009 which touched on indiscipline in schools which referred to this matter and the Home Affairs Select Committee Report on Past Abuse in Children's Homes (on which David Cameron served) which was published in 2002. Both these reports highlight some of the injustices felt by carers and teachers on these issues. 

Our organisation FACT (Falsely Accused Carers and Teachers)would be pleased to provide further information mailto:sec@factuk.org

That the Government restore freedom and liberty by extended the right to anonymity to those accused of rape or sexual assault, as it is to those making the allegation

Rape or other sexual assault against a woman, man or young person is something which rightly, society finds abhorrent. However, we continually see cases where the accused is found not guilty, or the case is dropped before any trial, because it has been established that the complainant had made up the allegation. Because of the way such offences are viewed our society, people wrongly or falsely accused lose their employment, home, family and the stigma of having been accused often makes it impossible for them to regain their normal life.

Why is this idea important?

Rape or other sexual assault against a woman, man or young person is something which rightly, society finds abhorrent. However, we continually see cases where the accused is found not guilty, or the case is dropped before any trial, because it has been established that the complainant had made up the allegation. Because of the way such offences are viewed our society, people wrongly or falsely accused lose their employment, home, family and the stigma of having been accused often makes it impossible for them to regain their normal life.