Feeds

Think tank slams paedophile paranoia culture

Guilty until proven innocent

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

An independent think tank has today blamed the government's increasing reliance on "anti-paedophile" criminal record checks for making UK adults scared to have any contact with other people's children.

Civitas' report Licensed to Hug claims the checks have driven suspiscion of all adults, which has led in turn to a breakdown of communities. Afraid to tell off or even talk to misbehaving children, adults have become "deskilled" in dealing with younger generations, it argues.

It's claimed one in four will be subject to checks once the forthcoming Independent Safeguarding Authority, mandated by the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006, begins work in 2009. It will run alongside the existing Criminal Records Bureau (CRB).

University of Kent sociology professor Frank Furedi, the report's author, writes: "When parents feel in need of official reassurance that other parents have passed the paedophile test before they even start on the pleasantries, this indicates that something has gone badly wrong in our communities."

The CRB yesterday trumpeted that it had blocked 20,000 "unsuitable workers" from 3.4 million checks in 2007*. The CRB says its capacity is "in excess of 300,000" checks per month, which means that when it processes 3.6 million requests in 2008, it will be working at its maximum.

The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act, passed in the wake of the Soham murders, greatly extends the number of jobs that require a criminal record check. Estimates say 11.3 million will be vetted by the Independent Safeguarding Authority database, over a quarter of the adult population.

This, argues Furedi, will only intensify the atmosphere of suspiscion and fear. He writes: "We should question whether there is anything healthy... in a response where communities look at children's own fathers with suspicion, but would balk at helping a lost child find their way home."

CRB checks have also had a chilling effect on children's sports and social clubs, where potential volunteers are put off by the assumption that they might be a child abuser. Earlier this month the CRB sought to clarify who it says needs to be vetted, but Civitas cites a survey last year that found 13 per cent of men would not volunteer as a result of the process. The think tank sympathises with that hesitance, given a culture that has made all adults "in the regulatory and public imagination into potential child abusers, barred from any contact with children until the database gives them the green light".

Furedi calls on the government to accept that most adults aren't paedophiles, to trust parents to protect their own children and to halt the "juggernaut of regulation". More frequent contact and openness between adults and kids would benefit everyone, he concludes. ®

*The Home Office press release also announces that in almost 9 out of 10 cases where the applicant had a criminal record, it did not stop them being employed.

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?
Rent control: Better than bombs at destroying housing
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
GCHQ protesters stick it to British spooks ... by drinking urine
Activists told NOT to snap pics of staff at the concrete doughnut
What do you mean, I have to POST a PHYSICAL CHEQUE to get my gun licence?
Stop bitching about firearms fees - we need computerisation
Oz biz regulator discovers shared servers in EPIC FACEPALM
'Not aware' that one IP can hold more than one Website
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?