Vetting rules risk ‘poisoning’ relations between adults and children for decades and should be scrapped, a report warned today.
Researchers said most adults would eventually be covered by the ‘Big Brother’ anti-paedophile database.
Ministers have pledged to drastically scale back the controversial scheme, but stopped short of dropping it entirely.
The report, Licensed to Hug, said the Vetting and Barring Scheme, which was drawn up by Labour ministers, had fuelled a ‘culture of fear’.
Parents and volunteers feel pressure to be cleared amid concerns those who have not ‘passed the paedophile test’ will be blacklisted, it warned.
Authors Frank Furedi and Jennie Bristow said: ‘Vetting is rapidly coming to be seen as a mark of responsible adulthood and, indeed, parenthood.
‘If the Government fails to halt the VBS, the scheme will continue to poison the relationship between the generations, intersecting a broader culture of fear, which creates a formal barrier between adults and children.
‘Given the extent to which this scheme seems likely gradually to encompass all parents, as well as adults working or volunteering with children, the logic is that the majority of the adult population will sooner or later find itself on the vetting database.’
They warned the national vetting scheme had interfered with parents making private arrangements to transport their children to and from school and clubs and discouraged volunteers from coming forward.
Errors mean more than 12,000 innocent people had been labelled paedophiles, violent thugs or thieves, the report, published by the Civitas think tank, said.
Worse, the culture of fear had led to one council banning parents from playgrounds and allowing only vetted ‘play rangers’ contact with youngsters.
Nine million adults were due to undergo intrusive checks by a new government agency, the Independent Safeguarding Authority. But there was outrage after it emerged parents taking their children to Scouts or sports events could face fines of up to £5,000 if they failed to comply.
But responding to the report, Barnardo’s argued the scheme was needed to protect children.
Chief executive Martin Narey said it was not enough just to ‘trust our instincts’ about potential offenders. He said: ‘Much as it might be unpleasant to stomach, this scheme is necessary to protect our children, as adults who seek to harm children can be uniquely manipulative in gaining positions of trust.’
Source and Acknowledgement: Daily Mail