Report (1st Day)

Part of Modern Slavery Bill – in the House of Lords at 4:15 pm on 23rd February 2015.

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Photo of Baroness Howarth of Breckland Baroness Howarth of Breckland Crossbench 4:15 pm, 23rd February 2015

I have huge respect for him, but I really do think that this is a question of practice and of training. We keep repeating those words like a sort of mantra. What happens is the real issue—what action is taken to make sure that not just the police and the prosecutors but the health workers, social workers and voluntary workers, not those in the specific field of action but those who come across children in different ways, understand what they are seeing. I fear that, certainly in my area, modern social work training is not as precise in helping people to understand what they are seeing and then giving them courage and a legal understanding of what they can do next.

I say to the noble Baroness, Lady Doocey, that I stand somewhere in the middle on this issue. I have never been a great believer that more legislation will make a difference. My experience—and history—tells us that it does not. Some legislation will make a difference. The Government’s clause may well give a little jolt to the whole issue, but I hope that they will tell us what they are going to do to encourage all the professions to take this seriously. That goes not just for this area but for the whole range of child care and protection. We are at this time in this country in serious difficulties in making sure that our children are adequately cared for and protected.