TheOpinionSite.org has been told that the government could be having second thoughts about making any real changes to CRB checks, resulting in previous proposals being watered down. Ministers are so frightened about a backlash from the child protection lobby that in the end, any changes may in fact be little more than cosmetic.
After the Soham murders, a report was written by Lord Bichard which, amongst other things, suggested methods by which information sharing could be achieved in order to alert employers and others to the danger to children that an individual may pose. It was this report that gave birth to the New Labour nightmare that is CRB Checks and its notorious sister, the Independent Safeguarding Authority.
As TheOpinionSite.org has previously suggested, the destructive and discriminatory CRB system may be a problem without a solution, or at least, a solution that is politically acceptable.
Mention child abuse in Britain today and you get one of two responses: either people agree with everything that those in the child protection movement say, usually because most people are afraid to disagree for fear of criticism or, as is more common, no comment is offered at all, again for fear that one may be criticised for even suggesting that the child protection paranoia that has taken over the UK really is just that, paranoia.
Ever since the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) was set up, later followed by the infamous and largely anonymous Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA), more and more people have been effectively barred from working, not just with children and vulnerable adults but from any type of work at all. To fail a CRB check, even if you have no conviction at all, is to be consigned to the proverbial scrapheap forever. Employers are frightened to take on anyone who has a conviction or who has a negative CRB assessment.
The Coalition Government, mindful of the increasing numbers of capable people who will never work again, has pledged to put things right. However, such is the opposition from those with vested interests to any weakening of the current vetting procedures and such is the threat of political embarrassment to the government that, despite a promise to restore ‘common sense’, in reality little progress is being made.
To illustrate the problem is simple. Originally, 11.5 million individuals in the UK would have been subject to assessment by the ISA, many of them parents who are also volunteers in children’s organisations or who simply share the school run every day. The government’s proposals would reduce this figure to 9 million. Therefore, 9 million people will still be regarded as potential paedophiles unless they can prove that they are not.
The ISA, which also administers CRB checks, assumes that everyone is a danger to children unless it can be proved otherwise. If there is any doubt, they are by default barred from being involved with children. This applies even if there is no criminal record but where there is, for example, the suggestion that the person is a threat. This ‘suggested threat’ could be the result of an unproven accusation, malicious gossip or whatever. In other words, one does not have to have actually done anything wrong or inappropriate in order to be blacklisted by the ISA.
Child protection workers are zealots, be in no doubt. They live, breathe and eat child protection. Many of them make a very comfortable living from their activities; not a difficult thing to do when everyone else is afraid to argue with you. No proof is needed in order to bar someone. Individuals are ‘deemed’ to be a risk to children or are ‘assessed’ as being dangerous but no indication is ever given as to how this determination is reached.
Some who have failed CRB checks have subsequently had visits from accusatorial officers from Social Services. Once you have been ‘deemed’ or secretly assessed as being a potential threat to children, you can kiss the rest of your life goodbye, even if you are completely innocent, which most people are.
The secretive and legally suspect MAPPA system works in exactly the same way. Designed by New Labour to ‘protect the public’, this group of policemen and probation staff decide on the individual’s risk factors; judge, jury and executioners all. Ask how they reached their decision or upon what evidence and you will be told that they do not disclose such information. Information cannot be checked for its veracity or accuracy, individual officers cannot be identified, decision makers remain anonymous. Secret people, using secret evidence and engaging in a secret process that can never be tested for either its honesty or integrity. No appeal is allowed or provided for.
And we are all supposed to accept all this without any questions whatsoever. We are supposed to trust MPs, the police and Probation Service, officers of which have all been jailed in the last year for corruption, dishonesty and in some cases, child abuse.
Various MPs and members of the House of Lords have pointed all this out to this government and its predecessors. Every single administration has been afraid to stand up to the 2,000,000 strong child protection army that now exists in the UK, most of which was created under Tony Blair.
Why is this the case? Why will the government not act to truly restore some ‘common sense’? It is simple really; every one of those 2 million child protection foot soldiers, some of whom – like the CEOs of the NSPCC, Barnados and the like are paid more than the Prime Minister – are voters. There is not a government on the planet that would deliberately offend or alienate 2 million voters, whoever they may be.
Couple the dishonesty of those in power with the moral blackmail practised by the tabloid press and you have a recipe for disaster that is the current situation in Britain. Criticise ‘child protection’ at all in fact and you risk losing everything. Your life is effectively over and you too are consigned to the scrapheap.
Even after Bichard acknowledged that his proposals had been applied ‘disproportionally’, there were many politicians condemning the government for even thinking about reforming the CRB/ISA system. Some of the critics were, rather obviously actually, trying to protect their income – notably, officers of child protection charities – whereas others were simply trying to score political points and progress their own careers in the process.
Hence the suggestion from TheOpinionSite.org that this really is a serious problem without a solution. How, after all, can any government reform a corrupt child protection system that no one is allowed to seriously discuss or criticise without simultaneously committing political suicide?
The answer is, it is impossible to do so. Whatever ministers may know to be the truth – and they do know the truth – there is no way that they can reform a system that for 30 years has taught every adult and child that there is a paedophile on every corner, all adults are potential abusers and that to touch, communicate with or comfort a child – even your own – is not only unacceptable but that to do so could land you in jail, possible for ever.
If there is a solution to this problem, don‘t expect it to be implemented. Only when we have in the UK the same destructive results of this policy that can now be seen in the US will the tide begin to change – and that will not be for years to come and in any case, by then it will be too late.
The biggest tragedy of all is that all of these measures, the CRB checks, the ISA, MAPPA etc, disastrous though they are, are designed to protect children from strangers whereas, in reality, everyone – even the zealots themselves – agree that the biggest dangers to children come not from strangers but from fathers, mothers, uncles, brothers, sisters and family friends; none of whom are covered by CRB checks or the ISA in its current form.
The only people who will benefit from this paranoia, as they have done in the past, are those who run and are paid by the system. Those who are seemingly both untouchable and despicable at the same time; those, in fact, who couldn’t give a damn about protecting children at all but who are instead very keen to protect their own living and, if possible, increase the power that they already have and to increase their income accordingly.
The real tragedy though is that they may succeed in doing just that, for nobody has the courage to stand against them, least of all the government that helped to create them, for no MP from any party has ever voted against any ‘child protection’ measure, even if they know that eventually, it will result in disaster. They are simply too afraid to do so.