Anorak News | The Moral Panic That Created The Independent Safeguarding Authority

The Moral Panic That Created The Independent Safeguarding Authority

by | 11th, September 2009

sohamPAEDO! It’s the tabloids’ favourite scare story. So good news then that the Government is introducing a database for every adult who comes into regular contact with children, the mentally ill and the aged, checking for criminal convictions, disciplinary action and responses to anonymous tip-offs but the “Paedo!” at No.23.

The vulnerable are being protected.

Former News of the World editor Rebekah Wade once spoke of her paper’s campaign against paedos: “There are 110,000 sex offenders in Britain – one for every square mile”. But not necessarily evenly spaced out.

The fact is, that if you have paedophiles in society that aren’t monitored they will strike again,” she said.

A NoTW headline read “Police want you to help trap these paedophilesand the newspaper published photographs of seven wanted child abusers with backing from the police to “name and shame” them.

Light the torches – we march at dusk:

Ms Eithne Wallis The first national director of the Probation Servicesaid the newspaper risked driving paedophiles out of the sight of probation staff. “I would certainly ask them to think again about the wisdom of what they are actually doing.”

This new drive  is about saving the kids from paedos. Panic over! Childhood innocence (Jamie Bulger) can be protected from adult evil (Mother Teresa). Tabloids Rejoice! The new Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) will route the paedos!

So here’s the Chicken Little of scare stories the Daily Mail to tell us:

Now Big Brother targets helpful parents as one in four Britons are to be vetted for giant child protection database

That doesn’t sound all that encouraging. Doesn’t the Mail want to stop peados? The ISA is set up as a result of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act of 2006, which was triggered by Sir Michael Bichard’s 2004 report into Ian Huntley’s murder of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman in Soham. Those murders by the school caretaker, a known pervert, must never happen again. Never.

Says Iain Dale, the Tory blogger:

I can accept that people who work in schools should be CRB checked, but this scheme goes too far. The whole thing is a dramatic overreaction to the Ian Huntley case. Huntley was a one off.

A one off? So no need to overreact, to respond to paedos as Maggie Thatcher once wanted to respond to young male hooligans by putting all football fans on a register. Cue Michael White to say that Soham was not a one off:

In California these past few weeks we’ve been hearing about Phil Garrido, the man whose child kidnapping scam lasted 18 years. The neighbours called him “Creepy Phil” and he had form, too. But no one did anything about it and Jaycee Dugard lived on in the garden.

With the ISA you can call someone creepy over a phone line and know that they will be eyed with great suspicion. Here’s how it works:

Under the new system, an individual who wishes to work with children or vulnerable adults will need to apply for a check (separate applications will be needed for children and for adults, as there will be separate barring lists). The application will require proof of identity and a fee.

Well, it’s going to cost:

The government’s controversial vetting database, the Vetting and Barring Scheme (VBS), will cost up to £170m, The Independent has reported.

Pay up or..?

Organisations such as the Cubs or Scouts would themselves face fines of £10,000 if they use volunteers who have not been cleared.

What does it all add up to? James Slack – nominative determinism, folks – asks Mail readers:

Will the world’s biggest vetting system make us feel safer? Or just more watched?


Covering 11.3million people, it will mean one in every four adults living in England and Wales will have been checked by Independent Safeguarding Agency st

Incidentally, the woman from One In Four, the sexual abuse charity, says one in four children have been sexually absued. One in four seems a popular statistic.

One in four Californians could be affected by swine flu, state health chief says”

Says James Slack:

This morning, interviewed by the BBC, Child protection minister Baroness Morgan wriggled and squirmed when asked to confirm one of these facts – namely that parents who volunteer to transport children to and from social groups once a month or more will be subjected to the same checking procedures as a teacher or GP.

Perhaps she didn’t like the way it sounded on air: draconian and grossly disproportionate.

Parent driving children is the big story – the devil is in the detail.

The BBC’s Mark Easton puts the case:

The government’s Vetting and Barring Scheme is a child of moral panic. It is a textbook case of how media hype, political expediency and bureaucratic process lead to conclusions that can later appear disproportionate.

What say the experts – you know the ones who write the news stories and feed the panic..?

Posted: 11th, September 2009 | In: Key Posts, Reviews Comments (6) | TrackBack | Permalink