Safeguarding Children

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:06 pm on 19th January 2006.

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Photo of Lord Taverne Lord Taverne Liberal Democrat 3:06 pm, 19th January 2006

My Lords, following on the remarks made by the noble Lord, Lord Biffen, of course there have to be safeguards and I welcome these measures, which are obviously sensible. However, does not the Minister agree that there has been an element of hysteria about the risks posed by paedophiles? Hysteria is illiberal because it endangers human rights, such as the rights of some teachers; it is dangerous because it stirs up in some elements of society an atmosphere of lynch law; and it has enormously exaggerated the problem. Paedophilia is not one of the greatest problems of our time, as recent media comments appear to suggest. In fact, the risk from paedophiles is much less than that faced by children in crossing the road, but its effect may well be that children are restrained from taking part in activities that are healthy and desirable. Does not the Minister agree that it is time we regained a certain sense of perspective on this issue?