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Ignore the risk of grooming at your peril

9 February 2012

The debate on the safeguarding proposals in the Protection of Freedoms Bill continued today. And, regardless of expert views to the contrary, the government refuses to accept the risk of grooming posed by people who will be able to work with children unchecked.

As the Bill stands a ‘supervised volunteer’ in a school would not be undertaking ‘Regulated Activity’ and therefore no checks would be required. This means that an individual who is barred from working with children could still volunteer with children as long as he is supervised. That cannot be right.

This ignores the fact that children see all adults in schools (and other settings) as appropriate and trustworthy. It allows an adult to build a trusting relationship during schools hours and to exploit it out of hours. In other words, to groom and then abuse a child.

Even Lord Bichard has pleaded for a change, but thus far such pleas have fallen on deaf ears.

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