Scandal waiting to happen?

Health and safety and child protection will be the ruin of us. In both cases their aspirations are beyond question but I would suggest that the new registration scheme for people working with children is the next scandal waiting to happen. How long does it take to check the integrity of hearsay and unsupported accusations? Delays will be blamed on shortage of staff, bad decisions on excessive workloads – not dissimilar to the problems associated with social workers. We would all welcome an effective solution to preventing the abuse of children and other vulnerable members of society, but is this it?
Did banning the possession of guns eliminate (or even reduce) gun crime? No, because it doesn’t eliminate the problem. People are the problem and no measure of registration or banning this or that will eliminate the people with ill intent. Having a registration scheme gives the impression that the problem is solved – something is seen to be done – a box can be ticked – but a registration scheme can only identify someone who has already committed an offence or has been identified in some other way. Clearance will still be given for people who have yet to be caught or are yet to transgress.
How much safer will everyone feel? It will be fine until the next scandal – when someone crawls out of the woodwork for the first time. Then what? It will be someone’s fault. Someone will be to blame. The system will be seen as flawed and another, bigger sledgehammer will replace the old one. Paranoia will return, but the nut(s) will be the same size as before.
Blame will be aimed at the body responsible for certifying people as ‘safe’. For this reason alone they will be ultra-cautious. It will need a brave decision to issue clearance for someone where there has been any suggestion or rumour of questionable behaviour – whether proven or otherwise. Everyone, for this purpose, is regarded as guilty before proven innocent. People’s lives will be ruined if they are refused clearance on the basis of false or malicious accusations. I accept that children’s lives will be ruined if they are subjected to abuse – and if a registration scheme were capable of preventing that, I would applaud it, but it won’t.
Who (especially males) would want to work with children? You are under suspicion throughout. Potentially you are at the mercy of any child or person who points an (falsely) accusing finger. I used to help with Cub Scouts – I would have been mortified if I had not been considered trustworthy enough, – without a certificate. I have to think carefully these days, when I’m walking the dogs, about whether I should smile or speak to anyone under the age of eighteen, for fear that I may be considered a pervert (or need a certificate). Whatever happened to judgement? Doesn’t involve ticking a box, does it? Society has enough problems with social interaction without adding to them.
As children (many years ago) we were taught not to accept ‘sweets’ or lifts from strangers. The potential problem was recognised all those years ago. It is not new, and it will not be banished by a registration scheme. If child abusers exist, then tragedies will occur (and child abuse is a tragedy), just like burglars will burgle. Similarly, despite all the efforts of health and safety, accidents will happen. We may be better equipped to deal with life’s problems when we accept that it’s not possible to eliminate all threats in life – to children or otherwise – accidents or otherwise.
Is it not more appropriate to make children clearly aware of the dangers? They will react in their matter-of-fact way. Children will not panic, unless panic is instilled in them. They will even learn how to cross the road and surf the Internet ‘safely’ if the perceived dangers are discussed openly. Children will be much better equipped to recognise abuse and tell others about it if the dangers are out in the open. Nothing will remove the problem completely. Mistrust, guilty until proven innocent, fear of anything and everything in case it might happen, pretending that we can be protected from all ills, is in serious danger of ruining society, and it still won’t protect the children.