A leading child protection expert has urged the government to create an organisation to deal with sex offenders who are self-employed, Community Care has learned.
Ray Wyre said that sex offenders who abuse children currently fall through the net due to the absence of a professional body to register and check people who are self-employed or to hold them to account.
Wyre, who is working with Labour MP Dan Norris on the project, explained that if a person decided to set up an activity club and was then accused of abusing a child but the police decided not to pursue the case due to lack of evidence there was no body, unlike with other professions, who would then take up the allegations in a professional misconduct hearing.
He added that child abuse within families which was not pursued by the police fell to family court proceedings.
Wyre said that almost all child abuse by professionals was dealt with in professional misconduct hearings as there was “hardly ever” enough evidence to satisfy the criminal court standard of proof of ‘beyond reasonable doubt’.
Self-employed people who want a Criminal Records Bureau disclosure have to register with an agency in order to obtain one and Wyre said that the new organisation would be able to carry out the necessary checks on those who did not do this.
Wyre also raised concerns about paedophiles gaining access to children through their partners. He pointed out that it wasn’t Ian Huntley’s job as a school care taker which allowed him to meet up with Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman who he went on to murder. The school girls had gone round to visit their one time classroom assistant, his then girlfriend, Maxine Carr.
“All over the country there are social workers, youth workers and teachers married to sex offenders. Are you going to suggest that people give up their job?”
Wyre said that the issue was a “poisoned chalice” which no government would be keen to deal with.
Anyone interested in the new organisation should contact Wyre at: firstname.lastname@example.org