Advice of the Ombudsman for Children on the Heads of the Children First Bill 2012 & The Criminal Justice (Withholding of information on offences against children and vulnerable persons) Bill 2012

2.50
Hdl Handle:
http://hdl.handle.net/10147/252383
Title:
Advice of the Ombudsman for Children on the Heads of the Children First Bill 2012 & The Criminal Justice (Withholding of information on offences against children and vulnerable persons) Bill 2012
Authors:
Ombudsman for Children Office (OCO)
Publisher:
Ombudsman for Children Office (OCO)
Issue Date:
Jun-2012
URI:
http://hdl.handle.net/10147/252383
Item Type:
Report
Language:
en
Description:
The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs published the Heads of the Children First Bill on the 25th of April 2012. The stated purpose of the proposed legislation (“the Children First Scheme”) is to place certain aspects of Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children on a statutory footing. The Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence also published the Criminal Justice (Withholding of Information on Offences Against Children and Vulnerable Persons) Bill 2012 on the same day. This legislation (“the Withholding Information Bill”) creates a criminal offence of withholding information in relation to serious specified offences committed against a child or vulnerable person. 1.2. Section 7 of the Ombudsman for Children Act 2002 provides that the Ombudsman for Children may give advice to Ministers of the Government on any matter relating to the rights and welfare of children, including the probable effect of proposals for legislation. In accordance with this statutory function, the Ombudsman for Children’s Office has set out below a number of observations and recommendations on the proposals put forward by the Government. This submission builds on previous advice provided by the Ombudsman for Children’s Office in relation to the Scheme of the Withholding Information Bill and the initial proposals to place aspects of Children First on a statutory footing. 1.3. These initiatives represent a significant development in the legislative framework governing child protection in Ireland. This Office has decided to comment on the Children First Scheme and the Withholding Information Bill in the same submission because of the overlap between them with respect to the issue of reporting abuse. It is acknowledged that the Children First Scheme is broader in scope and addresses other issues such as the general safeguarding obligations on specified organisations, cooperation and information sharing, and the framework for the implementation of Children First. In addition, the threshold for reporting under the Withholding Information Bill differs from the Children First Scheme with respect to the nature of the offences to be reported and the quality of the information held by the person on whom there is an obligation to report. The Children First Scheme relates primarily to reporting obligations to the HSE, whereas the 4 Withholding Information Bill is concerned with reporting to An Garda Síochána. However, both deal with arrangements for reporting child abuse and, together with the National Vetting Bureau Bill, form a suite of child protection legislation being advanced by the government at present. Moreover, certain individuals will potentially find themselves subject to reporting requirements under both pieces of legislation with respect to the same child protection concerns. As a result, it is important that they be consistent with one another and provide clarity in relation to when and how members of the public, as well as particular organisations and professionals, are to report child protection concerns. 1.4. This Office previously advised that consideration be given to merging the two Bills or that they be advanced through the Houses of the Oireachtas at the same time. This would assist the Oireachtas in ensuring that the two pieces of legislation cohere fully with each other. As the Oireachtas has already begun its consideration of the Withholding Information Bill 2012, it is recommended that the latter option be taken. It is recommended that the Withholding Information Bill 2012 and the forthcoming Children First Bill 2012 be advanced through the Houses of the Oireachtas at the same time in order to ensure that both pieces of legislation cohere fully with each other.
Keywords:
LEGISLATION; CHILD HEALTH

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.contributor.authorOmbudsman for Children Office (OCO)en_GB
dc.date.accessioned2012-11-16T12:09:33Z-
dc.date.available2012-11-16T12:09:33Z-
dc.date.issued2012-06-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10147/252383-
dc.descriptionThe Minister for Children and Youth Affairs published the Heads of the Children First Bill on the 25th of April 2012. The stated purpose of the proposed legislation (“the Children First Scheme”) is to place certain aspects of Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children on a statutory footing. The Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence also published the Criminal Justice (Withholding of Information on Offences Against Children and Vulnerable Persons) Bill 2012 on the same day. This legislation (“the Withholding Information Bill”) creates a criminal offence of withholding information in relation to serious specified offences committed against a child or vulnerable person. 1.2. Section 7 of the Ombudsman for Children Act 2002 provides that the Ombudsman for Children may give advice to Ministers of the Government on any matter relating to the rights and welfare of children, including the probable effect of proposals for legislation. In accordance with this statutory function, the Ombudsman for Children’s Office has set out below a number of observations and recommendations on the proposals put forward by the Government. This submission builds on previous advice provided by the Ombudsman for Children’s Office in relation to the Scheme of the Withholding Information Bill and the initial proposals to place aspects of Children First on a statutory footing. 1.3. These initiatives represent a significant development in the legislative framework governing child protection in Ireland. This Office has decided to comment on the Children First Scheme and the Withholding Information Bill in the same submission because of the overlap between them with respect to the issue of reporting abuse. It is acknowledged that the Children First Scheme is broader in scope and addresses other issues such as the general safeguarding obligations on specified organisations, cooperation and information sharing, and the framework for the implementation of Children First. In addition, the threshold for reporting under the Withholding Information Bill differs from the Children First Scheme with respect to the nature of the offences to be reported and the quality of the information held by the person on whom there is an obligation to report. The Children First Scheme relates primarily to reporting obligations to the HSE, whereas the 4 Withholding Information Bill is concerned with reporting to An Garda Síochána. However, both deal with arrangements for reporting child abuse and, together with the National Vetting Bureau Bill, form a suite of child protection legislation being advanced by the government at present. Moreover, certain individuals will potentially find themselves subject to reporting requirements under both pieces of legislation with respect to the same child protection concerns. As a result, it is important that they be consistent with one another and provide clarity in relation to when and how members of the public, as well as particular organisations and professionals, are to report child protection concerns. 1.4. This Office previously advised that consideration be given to merging the two Bills or that they be advanced through the Houses of the Oireachtas at the same time. This would assist the Oireachtas in ensuring that the two pieces of legislation cohere fully with each other. As the Oireachtas has already begun its consideration of the Withholding Information Bill 2012, it is recommended that the latter option be taken. It is recommended that the Withholding Information Bill 2012 and the forthcoming Children First Bill 2012 be advanced through the Houses of the Oireachtas at the same time in order to ensure that both pieces of legislation cohere fully with each other.en_GB
dc.language.isoenen
dc.publisherOmbudsman for Children Office (OCO)en_GB
dc.subjectLEGISLATIONen_GB
dc.subjectCHILD HEALTHen_GB
dc.titleAdvice of the Ombudsman for Children on the Heads of the Children First Bill 2012 & The Criminal Justice (Withholding of information on offences against children and vulnerable persons) Bill 2012en_GB
dc.typeReporten
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