Huge increase in the vetting of children – to ensure they are not paedophiles

Media Release:


New data released under a Freedom of Information request to the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) reveals a huge increase in the number of children undergoing vetting, before being licensed to volunteer with other children.

CRB checks are routinely being carried out on children who are 13-years old or younger.

· Over 3,000 children who were 13 or under have undergone CRB checks since 2002. 433 children 13 and under were CRB checked in the year 2007/8.
· Since 2002, a total of 43,000 under-16s have undergone CRB checks. By law, under-16s are considered to be ‘children’.

Many children were required to undergo a CRB check before undertaking voluntary work, such as helping younger children with sports coaching, or learning to read, or volunteering in a care home for elderly or handicapped people.

· The number of 14-year olds undergoing CRB checks has seen a 400% increase since 2002/3: 456 checks in 2002/3, to 1,922 checks in 2008/9.
· There was a similar increase in the number of 15-year olds who were CRB checked: from 1,242 in 2002/3 to 4,999 checks in 2008/9.

These figures are released in a new Manifesto Club briefing document, Vetting Children, to be published on Monday 14 December.

Report author Josie Appleton says:

‘We knew about the vetting of 16 and 17 year olds, but we are shocked that vetting extends to 14s and under. The idea that a 14-year old could be a paedophile is obviously absurd – but it only reflects the mistrustful assumptions on which the Independent Safeguarding Authority and the new Vetting Database are premised. The vetting database needs to be scrapped.’

In a document published last week, An Education in Mistrust, the Manifesto Club revealed that some sports organisations consider it acceptable to CRB check children as young as 10 years old. The Amateur Swimming Association and Badminton England both said that they had routinely CRB checked under-16s.

Notes to Editors:

1. The briefing, Vetting Children, is published on Monday 14 December 2009. For a preview copy, contact Josie Appleton on or call +44 (0)779 1032740.

2.Vetting Under-18s – An Education in Mistrust was published on Monday 7 December 2009. The report includes includes interviews with many vetted under-18 year olds, and is available from:

3. The Manifesto Club has been campaigning against the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act since October 2006, when it launched a petition signed by individuals including Fay Weldon, Johnny Ball and Alan Silitoe, and hundreds of volunteers, parents and concerned adults. For full details of the Campaign Against Vetting, and previous reports, go to The Manifesto Club campaigns against the Hyperregulation of Everyday Life.