After reading We Are All Sex Offenders Now, it occurred to me that this was a classic case of the unintended consequences arising from poorly considered legislation. In short, I believe that this will increase the chance that an adult interacting with a child is a paedophile. I'd love to find some way to test the hypothesis, so drop me a line if you have any ideas.
My reasoning starts with the thought that there are essentially 3 groups of people that are going to be affected by this:
- People that work in a profession that requires contact with children
- People who may work with children as a side-effect of their profession
- Paedophiles that are hiding in the previous 2 categories
Now it seems reasonable that group 1 will have to apply for the certificate and there's no reason why group 3 wouldn't (it doesn't increase their chances of being caught or increase the penalty if they are). Group 2, however, will have a significant number of people that decide that it's too much trouble to apply for a certificate, so they'll stop the part of their work that requires working with children. The result of keeping the number of bad people that interact with children constant and reducing the number of good people is that any interaction between a certified adult and a child is now more likely to result in abuse than before.