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Let's be cleverer than sexual predators

Let's be cleverer than sexual predators

November 13, 2013

The conviction today of another Child, Youth & Family- approved caregiver has angered the CEO of a mentoring agency that rigorously vetts volunteer male mentors before matching them with fatherless boys.

Richard Aston says Daniel Taylor’s conviction is yet another indictment on CYFs. Taylor, a church youth worker and approved foster parent, sexually abused the child placed in his care for almost a year, along with sexually molesting three other boys. He was jailed for over five years in the Whangarei High Court today.

“Taylor’s offending is horrific but what is more disturbing is CYFs continued assertion that sexual predators are incredibly clever and that vetting cannot be a predictor of future sexual behavior. This is patently wrong,” says Aston.

“The vetting process used by Big Buddy is built on the premise of predicting the potential a person has to become a sexual predator. We have vetted well over 600 men as potential mentors to fatherless boys since our programme began in 1997. In that time we have received no accusations of abuse.”

“The so-called ‘cleverness’ of sexual abusers is one of the signals used to identify their potential to abuse, through building their psychological profile,” says Aston. “The point is that regardless of how clever they are, there will be markers that reveal their darker nature. You can’t hold a deep, dark secret in your psyche without giving something away. We have a responsibility to be more clever than them.”

Aston says since the current vetting process began on 2004, Big Buddy has clearly identified four potential predators who had no previous history and clean Police records. “We have also declined roughly 10% of applicants we believe would be unable to develop healthy relationships. What I am saying is that it is possible to identify potential abusers and CYFs has a moral responsibility to do the best job they possibly can to do so.”

“What is really ironic is that Big Buddy is a CYFs-approved community service provider – regularly audited by CYFs - who have been well aware of our vetting process for years and tell us it is their ‘gold standard’. My question to them is, ‘Why aren’t you using it? Now’.”

“While I applaud Minister Bennett’s Vulnerable Children’s Bill, which will mandate a higher level of vetting, I am concerned that the standard of vetting will be dumbed down for financial reasons and we will end up in much the same position – more children being abused in state care and elsewhere.”

Child abuse statistics recorded a 32% rise over the last five years. More than 21,000 cases were reported last year, resulting in some 4000 children being placed in supposedly safe CYF homes. More than 23 of these children were further abused in care.
ends


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