Civitas urges government to scrap vetting and barring scheme

Kat Baldwyn
Monday, September 27, 2010

The controversial vetting and barring scheme (VBS) must be scrapped, a think-tank has warned.

With the imminent results of the coalition government's major review of the VBS, which is designed to protect children and vulnerable adults from potential abuse, independent think tank Civitas has released a new edition of Licensed to Hug, which insists the government must get rid of the VBS once and for all.

The report states: "The dramatic escalation of child protection measures, such as the VBS, has created an atmosphere of suspicion that actually increases the risks to children and damages relations between the generations."

It adds that national database is creating a broader culture of fear that will "poison the relationship between the generations... [and] create a formal barrier between adults and children".

Civitas also says the system will undermine David Cameron’s big society idea by discouraging people from volunteering, and will mean that adults will be less willing to intervene when children misbehave or are in distress.

The proposed VBS was created by the last Labour government and would involve at least nine million people who want to work with children or vulnerable adults having to register on a database and agree to criminal record checks.

In June, the coalition government announced it was shelving the scheme and is currently reviewing its future, with plans to scale back the scheme expected. But in the report, Civitas calls for the government to get rid of the scheme altogether, saying until it does, nothing will change.

The report, written by Frank Furedi, professor of sociology at the University of Kent and author Jennie Bristow, says that government needs to "adopt a radically new approach which recognises that the healthy interaction between generations enriches children’s lives".

It adds: "Rather than creating an atmosphere of fear and suspicion based on the assumption that the majority of adults have predatory attitudes towards children, we should encourage greater openness and more frequent contact between the generations."

See this week's issue of CYP Now for an indepth look at vetting and barring

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