British Association of Social Workers joins 90 MPs in pressing for panel on child sex abuse
By Mark Conrad and Alex Varley-Winter | 20 June 2014
“You can add my name to the list of MPs who are supporting calls for a national inquiry” – Gisela Stuart, Labour MP and former health minister
More than 15,000 social workers are being e-mailed by their professional association to urge them to lobby MPs for an inquiry into child sex abuse.
Exaro can reveal that the British Association of Social Workers was today planning to distribute an e-mail to all its members, asking them to join the effort to force the government to hold a national inquiry into the organised abuse over many decades of children throughout the UK.
It comes as the number of MPs who are calling for an independent panel to hold the inquiry rose today to 90, with the figure constantly rising.
The BASW’s children and families reference group today approved the decision to e-mail the association’s huge membership to give a fresh push to the snowballing campaign. The reference group, set up in 2011, has responsibility for helping to develop the association’s policy on children and families issues.
Members of the group were working on the wording of the e-mail today, and were expecting it to go out this afternoon.
A BASW spokeswoman told Exaro: “Members from the children and families reference group will be contacting all BASW members urging them to contact their MPs to support the campaign for a national inquiry.”
David Niven, former chairman of the BASW who runs a child protection consultancy, told Exaro that a national inquiry was “long overdue”. He said: “A national inquiry is much needed, and it is about time it happened. We have campaigned for decades for an inquiry that would be comprehensive, which would ‘clear the air’, reassure the public and co-ordinate the way forward for child protection.”
The BASW describes itself as the largest professional association for social work in the UK.
Its intervention is another step up in the growing groundswell for the government to order the overarching inquiry.
Only yesterday, the call for the inquiry was raised in the House of Commons for a second time. Tim Loughton, former children’s minister, pressed for the inquiry and asked Andrew Lansley, leader of the House of Commons, for a debate in Parliament “to set the scene for it.”
Loughton was one of a group of seven MPs, co-ordinated by Zac Goldsmith, who signed the initial joint letter just over a fortnight ago that urged Theresa May, home secretary, to set up such an inquiry.
Lansley was non-committal on the call for inquiry, and did not answer the question about whether there would be a debate about it in the House of Commons.
The leader of the House adopted a similar position to David Cameron when he was challenged about the issue at prime minister’s questions last week by Duncan Hames, Liberal Democrat.
Among the latest MPs to add their support to the call was Gisela Stuart, former health minister in Tony Blair’s Labour government. She told Exaro: “You can add my name to the list of MPs who are supporting calls for a national inquiry. There clearly are some unresolved cases out there, and you need to open this up and look at it.”
Nick de Bois, a Conservative MP, discussed the issue with Loughton following his letter to all colleagues in the House of Commons. He said that he shared the concerns, and supports the campaign. He tweeted: “I have read the arguments put forward and very happy to add my name to this important campaign.”
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