When taking part in charity work, or volunteering abroad, sometimes (and normally you should always have to undergo a DBS check!). DBS stands for Disclosure and Barring Service. This checks to see if you have a criminal record or are a threat to any children that you may be working with. Sometimes DBS checks are also known as CRB checks (Criminal Records Bureau).
Often these checks can seem annoying for many people and they do not see the necessity of having to undergo one. Especially since often the checks do not excuse any criminal records which aren’t to do with children or similar, yet still prevent people from working around them.
Why are DBS Checks Important?
DBS checks are important because everyone who takes part in charity work or who volunteers with children or vulnerable young people need to be trusted. If you cannot be trusted then obviously you cannot be allowed around children.
I personally have taken part in trips which I believe I should have been checked for. I was left alone with children for periods of time where they could have been vulnerable if I was dangerous. The company I travelled with said that they didn’t believe the checks were necessary as the volunteers would always be around adults and the children would be too, but I don’t think this was true as I was definitely alone at times. I think it is so, so important for charities and companies to check all their volunteers and if you sign up to one where they don’t, do what I did and request why.
I think RAGs especially should be trying to advocate for good checks for their challenges and trips they offer. Campaign for change if you think it is necessary!