Doctor who failed to report child sexual abuse may be struck off

A GP has admitted to not reporting allegations that two children in his care were being sexually abused

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Dr Trevor Hudson also confessed that, in the case of one of the children, he “did not think it was his job to get involved”

He faces being struck off after a tribunal found that, in some cases, he did not record allegations that the two children – who cannot be named for legal reasons – were being sexually abused until 16 months after they were first made. Neither did he refer them to the authorities.

“Doctors are at the front line of child protection. All professionals working with children have a clear duty to act to protect them from abuse,” said David Tucker, Associate Head of Policy at the NSPCC.

He added: “We know that one of the reasons that children don’t report abuse is because they fear that they will not be taken seriously or that no action will follow. Sadly, this doctor has reinforced this view.”

‘Not aware’

Dr Hudson admitted that, in April 2007, he was told by a person who can only be named as “M”, that Child A was being molested by a person named as “G”.

He also admitted that, the following month, M told him that Child B was physically assaulted by a person named only as “F”. And he said that was followed in July 2008 by M’s allegation that F also sexually assaulted both Child A and Child B.

Dr Hudson recorded none of the allegations at the time they were made. And he admitted to the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service Fitness to Practise Panel that, while giving evidence to the High Court, he said he was not aware of his duty as a doctor to report his concerns that a child was being abused.

He also confessed to not being “familiar with the guidance given by the General Medical Council and other professional bodies about what to do if you are worried that a child is being abused”.

He admitted that he did not think he “had any role in reporting information, expeditiously or at all, that Child A had been allegedly assaulted by F”. And he confessed that he told social services staff that he did not want to read the guidance on safeguarding children.

The panel will consider further evidence in relation to allegations that he “believed that F’s alleged infidelity was more important” than the welfare of the children.

Guidelines

Doctors are expected to report any concerns of child abuse. Government guidance states that: “Everyone who works with children – including teachers, GPs, nurses, midwives, health visitors, early years professionals, youth workers, police, Accident and Emergency staff, paediatricians, voluntary and community workers and social workers – has a responsibility for keeping them safe.

“No single professional can have a full picture of a child’s needs and circumstances and, if children and families are to receive the right help at the right time, everyone who comes into contact with them has a role to play in identifying concerns, sharing information and taking prompt action.”

According to the NSPCC, professionals who fail to report cases of abuse or neglect do not face criminal penalties for non-reporting but they can face professional sanction.

Dr Hudson also admitted that he inappropriately went to a restaurant owned by M’s family to “speak to a member of staff concerning the allegations of sexual and physical abuse of the Children” in breach of government guidance.

This, he admitted, was “inappropriate in that [he] put at risk/influenced the independence of the evidence [he was] due to give at the High Court”.

The panel must consider further evidence in relation to numerous allegations not admitted by Dr Hudson. It will then consider whether his fitness to practise was impaired before deciding on a sanction, which could include his being struck off.

He did not admit to not reporting the allegation of physical assault.