This is why Disclosure is pointless

HIMMELPFORT, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 16:  A man dre...
Santa needs *this* many forms

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 £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.

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4 thoughts on “This is why Disclosure is pointless”

  1. The paranoia gets worse and worse. Last night, a seven year-old kid from the downstairs flat went missing – when we found out, we were horrified and discussed the possiblity of joining in the hunt. But the policeman there cautioned against doing that, because kids are told not to talk to strangers – and that’s when it dawned on me that the reason the police were being relatively cautious in telling us what was happening was because they thought we could have been dodgy people. Thus, we were actively discouraged from helping a child. Fortunately, the kid’s now safe and sound.

    As Mark Easton (Home Affairs Editor, BBC News) puts it: “Generational segregation in Britain might now be a greater risk to the fabric of our nation than segregation by race, religion or class.”

  2. The sad thing is that the whole hassle of having to fill out that paperwork could potentially put off genuine normal people who just want to work with children.

    And that will leave the paedos/sickos who haven’t been caught and for whom it’s worth forking out £35 a pop to get a chance at being close to little Timmy or Emily…

  3. Andy – very sad state of affairs, isn’t it? As I said, society is now making us feel guilty when we’re not. I’ve mentioned on the blog before I’m sure that I love kids. I’m desperate to start a family. When I see a cute little kid in the supermarket on a trolley or whatever, I wave, or stick my tongue out or give them a big grin.

    Apparently, judging by the reactions of most parents, this means I also want to steal/abuse them. Strangely if I’m accompanied by a female friend when I’m doing this, then it’s OK and I’m not a potential threat.

    In Burma/Myanmar I got “talking” to a couple who were sleeping rough with their small child and baby. They kindly walked me and the chap I was with back to our hostel as we’d become lost. On the way we communicated vaguely (their English was slight, our Burmese non-existent). At one point, the woman handed her baby to me to hold. Me. An utter stranger. In a subcontinent renowned for child trafficking and abuse.

    Also a subcontinent where the Daily Mail isn’t sold.

  4. Weenie – yup, and I gather my uncle can’t be arsed with the Santa thing any more as a result, to give one example.

    I’m planning to visit a friend who fosters in a couple of weeks. I have to be disclosed when I get to her place just to spend the weekend!

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