Thursday 7 July 2011

CRB checks

Hands up all those who've never had a CRB check. I bet there aren't many of you. My husband, who is what used to be called a lay reader in the C of E, has just been told he has to have a new one (presumably so that they can take into account all the abuse he's carried out since the last one). I've had to have at least two, the last one in order to be able to teach creative writing to a class of adults. I would have thought that I was in more danger than they were (there were more of them, for a start).

But I know something about paedophiles. I have come across some, and have had many clients who were sexually abused, and in none of these cases would a CRB have helped in the slightest. A young single mother I know discovered to her horror that her son - then four-and-a-half - had been systematically and severely sexually abused for a year by his father, who at the time had regular access. But the child's (very graphic) evidence couldn't be used in evidence against the perpetrator because of his very young age, although everyone, from his teacher to his GP, believed him. So while there is a restraining order against the father, he is still out there. He has a new girlfriend. With small children.

But never mind. You can rest assured that the kind lollipop lady who is helping your child across the road has had a check, as have all his teachers, and the nice woman who teaches him the piano.

I bet that's a weight off your mind.


  1. Yeah, I have to have one for my exam invigilation. It's all part of the red-tape culture these days. Wasn't there some controversy a while ago when some authors objected to giving up their free time to visit schools and were still subjected to these checks? Even though they would never be left alone with any kids.
    The other thing that annoys me is having to produce a passport when I'm applying for jobs in my own country. That felt particularly ironic when I was made redundant but there were still people being kept on who couldn't string an English sentence together.
    There, I've had my say. I'll get back in my box.

  2. Keith, red tape is ok if it achieves something. The passport thing clearly does not.

  3. I curently hold three - one for each of the schools I work in and one for working with young people at church. At the very least you should only have to hold one at any time - especially now that police computers are joining up so that if you turned up in another part of the country they should still check you.

    I agree that they're a blunt instrument, but perhaps they do stop some people who shouldn't be involved with children or vulnerable adults? However, I agree that, statistically, the people kids are most at risk from are the people they live with.

  4. You're probably right, Alis. I just get unfuriated that so much time and money are wasted checking on people who, apart from anything else, have no opportunity to see, never mind molest, a child on his own.