Saturday, 22 July 2017

Vetting volunteer parents is going overboard

This idea of requiring parents who voluntarily drive children around for clubs, schools, and other organisations to be vetted properly is utterly ludicrous. 

Yes, I agree that preventing paedophiles from having access to our children is important, but isn’t this idea rather extreme and an over-reaction to an incident where a school caretaker murdered two children?  In that particular case, it was the school’s fault for not investigating allegations against the caretaker.

Some authors have already felt insulted enough by the idea that they will stop making school visits.  How many parents will be turned off so that they will not volunteer to help with transportation?  It is the principles of the plan that is absurd and insulting.

The plan does not cover informal arrangements by parents, so why can’t the government just leave the parents and schools to work out these informal arrangements rather than expecting regular parent-transporters to be registered with the Vetting and Barring Scheme? 

And how will this scheme be enforced?  Will there be additional people employed at schools to guarantee that the procedures are followed?  Will there be additional people employed to register the millions that will need to be vetted under this scheme? Is this part of the government’s job creation scheme?

In science and medicine, studies determine how many people need to be treated or screened before the benefit justifies a medication or test.  If we were to apply the same principles to government, will the Vetting and Barring Scheme be worth the cost?  How many people need to be vetted in order for us to prevent one case of child murder or catch a paedophile? 

Paedophiles and murderers do not commit their crimes so obviously by kidnapping a child when everyone knows that the child was in their care.  Of course, proponents will argue that this scheme will prevent such criminals from having access to vulnerable children.  But, the case above excepted, how many paedophiles and murderers in the past actually had easy access to children?  The majority of cases will be committed by strangers who may have been stalking or taking advantage of an opportunity.  Had we had a rash of cases committed by school visitors or parents, I would be the first to argue that such a scheme would work.  But, as it is, this is just another example of unnecessary government interference.  Why can’t they come up with more useful ideas?

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