I am about to have my second police check done. This requires that I submit a form to the police and they check my record. Lots of people have them done; teachers, health professionals, social workers, volunteers, childcare workers and of course clergy. It is a good and necessary thing to do or at least to be seen to be done. What it actually highlights is whether or not I have been caught doing anything. The irony is that the grossest offenders of recent years, Brandenburg, (here for example), and magistrate Peter Liddy (here for example) would have been able to go through the police check process and nothing would have been turned up. Because although as guilty as hell (and I use that term advisedly) there had been no prosecution or conviction until everything blew up completely. By then Brandenburg had suicided.
It could be argued, and often is, that the committed sexual abuser would easily avoid the facile police check, and does.
It is interesting, too, that the ones we remember and the press reminds us about are the olnes who molest boys. The evidence shows quite clearly that more girls are molested than boys (by a factor of least 2 or 3 to 1) and yet in a way most of these pass unnoticed or unremarked. Almost as though it is some how more scandalous when boys are abused and there should be more public outrage.
It is of course easy to deal with this sort of issue if we can marginalise the offenders, so the community continues todemonise homosexual people and infer that they are a stone's throw away from being child abusers. No matter how often it is said that sexual abuse is not about sexuality, no matter how often it is said that more girls are abused than boys we won't name the issues correctly.
So we should not be surprised, too. that our community continues to endorse the ineffective police check as a means of being seen to be doing something, even though that something is pretty ineffectual. It would be totally exposed if everyone was police checked. Apart from being a bureaucratic nightmare, there would soon be public outcry about the fact that the results are fairly meaningless, and the intrusion pretty insidious.
I will and do submit to this process quite willingly. But it is entirely unsatisfactory!