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Over onerous child protection

Comment 20th July 2010

Child protection law needs to have an element of common sense built in. For instance, many schools routinely ban parents from taking pictures of their children at sports days on the basis they may be paedophiles, many school exchanges are at risk because parents have to be vetted and a group from Belarus were recently turned back on the basis that their hosts hadn't had a second security check when some of them had already been vetted. Plus the demands on employers for work experience placements are so onerous within the state sector, that many employers simply won't take on sixteen year olds even for a week.

There needs to be an element of "let the buyer beware" whereby parents accept that their child may be going to an unvetted home, or if they don't want to do that, simply don't send them! Children in secondary school who may be less willing to speak up are more at risk, but at the moment, we have the strange situation where adults are fearful of giving children they know lifts or sending them off on exchanges–with no recorded incidents as far as I know–and yet dozens of children are killed by their parents, despite all the involvement of social services!

Yes, adults in charge of swimming teams, youth clubs etc need vetting, but that is because they are in constant contact with children (as are priests etc), but one-offs and occasionals should have more leeway. One should also remember that being vetted doesn' t mean that someone won't commit an offence, merely that they haven't done so or been caught so far…




Why does this matter?

It is important because at the moment children's freedom is restricted and they are being brought up to regard every adult as a potential abuser, plus perfectly rational adults are afraid to help a child in case they are regarded as abusers!

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