Written Answers. - Child Abuse.

Emmet Stagg

Question:

143 Mr. Stagg asked the Minister for Health and Children if, in view of recent reports of the Western Health Board's opposition to the introduction of mandatory reporting, he will indicate the Government's position on the issue. [1962/99]

The position is as I outlined to the House on 30 June last year. The decision of the Western Health Board does not alter this position, that is that the mandatory reporting of child abuse is a commitment in An Action Programme for the Millennium which will be introduced in the lifetime of the Government.

The preparation of a White Paper on mandatory reporting has commenced. Submissions were sought from interested parties through a notice published in the national daily newspapers on Tuesday 11 August last. A number of submissions have been received to date and these will be considered in the drafting of the White Paper.

In February of last year I established a working group to review the child abuse guidelines issued by the Department of Health in 1987. The group's terms of reference take into account the Government's commitment to introduce legislation on mandatory reporting. The group has met on 12 occasions to date and it is hoped to be in a position to issue the new guidelines by the end of April. The work of this group will impact on the preparatory work on the White Paper.