Child sex 'should not always be reported'
Sarah Womack, The Telegraph, UK, 16/03/2007
Children as young as 13 who are sexually active should not automatically be reported to the police, the Children's Commissioner for England said yesterday.
Prof Sir Albert Aynsley-Green said nurses, teachers and youth workers must follow Government guidelines published last April which state that while there is a "presumption" that information is passed on to social workers or police, decisions should be made using individual discretion on a case by case basis.
He spoke after Brook, the sexual health charity, said ministers must intervene to ensure that the current guidance, which was causing confusion and leading to automatic reporting, did not deter children from seeking advice.
The comments angered family campaigners who say the authority of parents is being undermined.
[Confidentiality and privacy]
The Family Education Trust said on one hand the Government trumpeted the importance of parents and held them responsible for their children's behaviour, and on the other supported the confidential provision of contraception and abortions.
But Simon Blake, the chief executive of Brook, said:
A survey by Brook found that one in four Local Safeguarding Children Boards - the statutory bodies which replaced child protection committees - complied with the Government guidance.
Earlier this week, a Tory MP, Angela Watkinson, pushed for a change in the law, saying under-16s should have parental guidance before deciding to have an abortion.