Over-zealous child protection laws are poisoning the relationship between adults (particularly men) and children. The vetting of adults in the interest of child protection is now out of all proportion to the risks faced by young people. These rules start from the assumption that, if you want to work with children, there may be something suspect about you.

Such procedures do little to protect children from the small number of individuals who would do them harm. Instead, they damage adult-child relations and undermine the capacity of adults to contribute to children’s welfare. Sadly, sexual deviance is not new and no amount of repressive, punitive legislation or regulatory fascism will stop it, but it could ruin the lives of innocent people, including parents, teachers and volunteers (if there are any left), who find themselves under unwarranted suspicion.

Why is this idea important?

Many hobby clubs are now refusing to admit under-18s without a parent because measures like running CRB checks and appointing a child protection officer are too costly and time-consuming. It is feared that many more groups will follow suit now that the independent Safeguarding Authority has come into force, bringing volunteers into the vetting regime. This will leave young people unable to take part in sport and other activities which are good for their development, making a mockery of attempts to tackle obesity and anti-social behaviour.

Only one in fifty teachers of the youngest primary school pupils is male. Men are deterred from this career because there is an element in society which questions the motivation of men who wish to work with young children.



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