Any church volunteers deemed to have ‘substantial’ contact with children will now face DBS Checks. This includes, Sunday schools teachers, individuals running parent and toddler groups and possibly even flower arrangers and refreshment stall staff.
The Archbishop warned anybody who refuses a DBS Check will still be able to attend services but will be prevented from volunteering or working for the organisation. These comments come after a number of cases where church volunteers have claimed that the DBS Checking process is ‘overzealous’.
The Archbishop also said ‘we are being utterly ruthless’ but also said he understood why volunteers who had helped out at their local church for decades would be unhappy about the changes. He insisted that these checks were necessary as they were ‘turning the screw’ on suspected child abusers.
He also stated that the Church has not yet come through the worst of the revelations regarding historical cases of abuse and admitted ‘we got it wrong over many years when society had a different view of these things’
The Church has been warned by critics that these strict checks are deterring Church workers across the country and that volunteer numbers in Churches could suffer as a result of this new structure. Professor Frank Furedi of Kent University also warned that the increase in CRB Checks would cause a decline in volunteering but that the real damage is that it ‘fosters a climate of suspicion’ amongst Church goers.