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Lord Williams of Mostyn, chairman of the National Commission of Inquiry into the prevention of child abuse which re...
Lord Williams of Mostyn, chairman of the National Commission of Inquiry into the prevention of child abuse which reports today, outlines his strategy in The Guardian (Society p2).

First and foremost, he writes, we need to tackle how children are treated in society. While the welfare of children is primarily the responsibility of parents, there should be a general obligation on all members of society to do what they can to share that responsibility when the need arises.

However, the government needs to take a lead and tackle poor coordination across eight or more departments. The secretary of state for health should be redesignated the secretary of state for health and children and the minister with responsibility for children should be upgraded and entitled minister for children with a responsibility to co-ordinate policy across departments.

Outside government, an independent children's commissioner should be appointed with a remit of promoting the rights and welfare of children, advising on legislation, monitoring implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and issuing codes of practices on services affecting children.

The National Commission also recommends a massive shift of resources to prevention of child abuse. It estimates that £1bn is spent each year on responding to child abuse by public agencies.

Social services Children's Plans should have greater emphasis on joint commissioning of services and come accompanied with a financial plan. The education service must address its role in dealing with child abuse.

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