Do therapists and counsellors have a legal duty to report child abuse?

Many therapists and counsellors believe it’s their legal duty to report harm to self or others, especially in the case of child abuse. StopSO, the Specialist Treatment Organisation for the Prevention of Sexual Offending, have produced a report to give healthcare professionals clear verification of the current child protection system and their legal requirements.

If you presently work with children we highly recommend reading the report here.

In summary, psychotherapists and counsellors in private practice in England, Wales and Scotland have no legal requirement to report female genital mutilation, child sexual abuse, general abuse or neglect. However, they can decide in consultation with their supervisor. This is an ethical decision and a personal choice for each counsellor, but there is, at present, no duty or legal requirement upon them to report.

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