Many of you will be aware by now that if you take up any position – paid or voluntary – whereby you will come into contact with children then you have to be “disclosed”. This entails filling out a form detailing where you’ve lived for the last three years, forwarding proof of identity and getting letters from the police of any country you’ve been in (for 3 months or more) saying that you weren’t naughty when you were there.
Oh, and it’s not just if you will be working with kids. It’s also if you might. Maybe. One day. Such as one person I heard of who’s teaching in a college for mature students. There’s no rule stating that under 18’s can’t attend classes (though they’ve never had anyone – ever), so he had to go through the rigmarole as well.
Did I mention it’s Â£35 a shot as well? And, generally, you’ll need one for each employer / voluntary organisation / council / etc? My uncle does Santa Claus for a lot of organisations, hotels and so forth in the area. As of this year he’ll need five or six disclosures to do the same work he’s been doing the last umpteen years.
Of course, all this is for the good of the kids, yes? It stops dirty paedos and child molesters and murderers from getting near our children. Which is a good thing. Only it doesn’t really work. It only stops them if they’ve been caught in the past.
We have two issues here – if you don’t have one, then you can’t work with kids. This is effectively saying “guilty until proven innocent”. Until you get hold of one of these pieces of paper, you’re a potential kiddy fiddler.
Secondly, if you do get one then you’re fine. Obviously not going to try and take advantage of your trusted position to lead children astray.
Tell that to the two girls abused by the student teacher in Glasgow recently.
The simple truth of the matter lies in the single line:
As a teaching student at Glasgow University, Binns would have been fully vetted before his school placement.
“Fully vetted”. Yup. He’d not done it before. Or hadn’t been caught. Or lied on the forms. Or hadn’t previously been in a situation where temptation became too much for him. You can’t fully vet someone. Convicted murderers have passed psychological exams with flying colours, and they’re somewhat more thorough than a check of the criminal records database.
Disclosure is pointless. One thing we constantly hammer into kids in the internet safety classes we give them is that the people who deal in child porn and the like are not stupid. They’re evil, sneaky, underhanded, disgusting, degraded… and quite often very clever indeed.
Identity theft is staggeringly easy to manage. What’s to stop a persistent, previously convicted, offender from assuming someone else’s identity and sneaking under the radar? After all, once he/she has that piece of paper we’re led to assume they’re totally trustworthy.
Once again we’re being led down a pointless path due to scaremongering by the tabloids. And all it’s resulting in is a nice bit of cash flow and some jobs for people keying this data in.