Voice renews call for anonymity for accused staff

Government response to Children, Schools and Families Select Committee report Allegations Against School Staff, and Voice?s reaction

 


Voice press release: 02 November 2009

 

Voice renews call for anonymity for accused staff

Voice: the union for education professionals has renewed its call for teachers and support staff who have been subject to allegations to be given the right to anonymity unless and until charged with a criminal offence, following publication of the Government’s response to the Children, Schools and Families Select Committee’s report Allegations Against School Staff.

 

Anonymity for those subject to allegations

12. "The Government does not support statutory anonymity for teachers during criminal proceedings for all offences including sexual offences as this is contrary to the principle of open justice. It does not consider that teachers or other school staff should be treated any differently from other defendants. Furthermore if a defendant is subsequently acquitted, that fact is in the public domain.

"As noted in the Committee’s report, the DCSF’s review of the implementation of guidance on handling allegations of abuse suggests that current guidance on maintaining confidentiality up until the point of criminal charge is working well."

General  Secretary Philip Parkin said:

"It is time for teachers and support staff to be given some basic rights and safeguards, including the right to anonymity unless and until charged with a criminal offence.  We had hoped that this would have been recommended in the original report.

"We would like to see justice for teachers and support staff rather than trial by rumour and trial by media. 

"Publishing someone’s name in a newspaper because they have been accused of something but not charged is trial by media.  A small paragraph on an inside page weeks later reporting that the charges have been dropped might be ’in the public domain’ but does not undo the harm caused by the first report.  

 "The Government’s response doesn’t make a fair allowance for the context in which teachers and support staff work, and their increased vulnerability to malicious or mischievous allegations made without any supporting evidence.

"An investigation is rightly triggered in situations where an allegation is made, but by the time no evidence has been found, the damage has already been done to the accused’s professional and personal reputation.  Mud sticks. 

"Voice is not alone in being able to provide casework evidence of numerous innocent teachers and support staff who have had their careers and personal lives damaged beyond repair as a result of allegations being made against them for which the subsequent investigation has found no evidence whatsoever.

"Voice believes that further guidance and training are required for those implementing the ’current guidance on maintaining confidentiality’, as we pointed out in our evidence to the inquiry.

 "Children need protection, but those who work with them, both teachers and support staff, are entitled to protection too. "  


 

Further information:

Commons Children, Schools and Families Select Committee:

Allegations Against School Staff: Government Response to the Committee’s Fifth Report of Session 2008-09

HTML version or PDF version

Voice’s response to Allegations Against School Staff (July 2009)

Allegations Against School Staff: Government Response to the Committee’s Fifth Report of Session 2008-09


  

Contacts:

Communications Officer, Richard Fraser (Voice Press Office)
Email: pressoffice@voicetheunion.org.uk

General Secretary, Philip Parkin
Email: philipparkin@voicetheunion.org.uk

Solicitor, David Brierley
Email: davidbrierley@voicetheunion.org.uk

 Tel: 01332 372 337. 

Contacts

Press office

Tel:
01332 373 337