Monday, October 29, 2012

Child Abuse Vs Child Protection

The scandal emanating from late Jimmy Savile's abuse of young people over the 40 years of his career has thrown a new light on the 'now and then' of protection of children and vulnerable people in public places and care in the UK.

While all blames are heaped on the organizations Mr Savile manipulated, like the BBC and NHS, it seems to me little concern is being given to the difference between the eras when this allegations took place and now when we are judging and heaping the blames quite rapidly. However, it is diminutive to say that blames cannot be passed as in this particular case, many signs were seen and rumours heard but none was properly investigated.

As a public health practitioner and constantly working with vulnerable as well as other adults, I know the massive effort it takes each time you get a new contract; to go through yet another Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check. In fact, it is repeated so often even within short periods of getting an earlier one done. I have in such situations, hear some people complain and question the need and point out that it is a waste of time and resources. Other remarks include the assumption that it discourages the passion of those who chose to work in the affected sectors.

With current [Savile sex scandal] revelations, we may perhaps become more convinced that it is useful and very helpful to individuals, institutions and the wider society that CRB check is in place; and tightened too. Although CRB checks may not entirely stop abuse, it goes a long way to making sure that adequate and pre-cautious steps are put in place to support adults in charge of vulnerable people as well as the vulnerable people themselves.

Having considered the above, it is now imperative to reconsider and identify the balance in the concerns that many attached to CRB check. Earlier this morning, I listened to a woman on BBC Radio 4 complaining on how 'too much checks' hinder fostering hence human interactions. This is not far removed from the cry not too long ago when it was announced that [even] friends and possibly, extended families may have to get a CRB to help out with relatives' kids.

While we all cry foul, we may now agree that we should support even the 'Enhanced CRB - means that a supposed sole adult would be checked including checking records if any police action has ever been taken and recorded.

But yes, we know that this means relatives and friends helping out is becoming difficult as well helping a child in trouble is almost impossible which may include cleaning bruises, and other such trivial things as adults fear being termed or suspected of abuse.

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