TEACHERS - UNION PETITION TO PROTECT IDENTITY OF ACCUSED
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Union launches petition to protect accused teachers - Friday December 5, 2003
Teachers today stepped up their campaign to give anonymity to school workers accused of abusing children with the launch of a postcard petition to the education secretary, Charles Clarke.
The National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers is seeking amendments to legislation to give protection to accused teachers, who, the union says, are vulnerable to nervous breakdowns, family break-ups and losing their ability to work if allegations prove to be false.
There are recorded cases of teachers who are maliciously accused of child abuse committing suicide.
In the past 12 years, 1,782 of the union's members have been investigated by police following allegations of criminal abuse. Just 96 were eventually prosecuted - less than 3%.
The union said its members had faced 154 allegations of abuse so far this year. It received 160 in 2002.
Eamonn O'Kane, general secretary of the NASUWT, said: "Many teachers facing malicious allegations cannot sustain family relationships, have nervous breakdowns and cannot return to the classroom when their ordeal is over. NASUWT wants to minimise this loss to the profession.
"Allegations of child abuse must be investigated thoroughly, with those found guilty facing the consequences. Such people have no place in schools.
"Anonymity will not hinder a full and proper police investigation. It will not protect abusers. Anonymity will strengthen the crucial principle of innocent until proven guilty."
The campaign, launched today, will ask members, their colleagues, families and friends to sign a postcard petition that will be sent to the government.
Polly Curtis - The Guardian
Persecution of stepfather or stepmother
by children of single parent families
Very many persons accused of assault, especially sexual assault, are either innocent or having been found guilty by a Court, are later found to have been innocent all along.
Under current legislation the accuser's identity is protected, whereas the accused is not. Where the majority of persons accused turn out to be innocent, during the period they are under suspicion, they are reported in the press, with an assumption of guilt, which usually ruins their lives: relationships and businesses. This particularly applies to Carers or Teachers, or those involved in such professions.
The man in the street is particularly vulnerable when entering into a relationship, since he or she has no body to turn to for advice and is not in any event tuned into the potential dangers. Those most at risk include males joining single parent families with children, and most especially young girls who are most likely to hurl accusations and usually where a relationship is not working or is breaking down.
(Falsely Accused Carers and Teachers)
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