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AIBU to tell you that Girlguiding has got this wrong? Let's support them to get it right

75 replies

AgnesBadenPowell · 30/03/2018 15:15

Some of you will have seen my previous threads here and in FWR about Girlguiding's transgender policy. I, and many other Leaders (and parents), feel that they've got this one wrong.

Since we highlighted the issue of mixed accommodation without parental consent, and the suggestion that gender nonconforming girls get 'managed out', Girlguiding has been quietly updating the policy on the website, to try and accommodate parental concern that they didn't anticipate. This still doesn't address the underlying issues and there was no announcement of the changes; I only discovered them by comparing cached pages with the live webpage.

Fair Play For Women has put together an article comprehensively setting out the issues in black and white, asking for them to be addressed. They worked on this not just with me, but a number of other concerned Leaders and parents.

You can read a one page fact sheet that summarises our concerns here:

If you'd like to see the full article, which discusses our concerns in detail and is fully referenced, you can do that here:

If you share our concerns and would like to support this initiative, there is a (public) Facebook group where parents and Leaders can talk about it and add their voice. If we don't speak, no one will hear us:

Policies which refuse to address the safeguarding of children need to be urgently questioned and clarified. At the moment, many organisations are being given bad advice, getting ahead of the law and misinterpreting the current legislation. Because, yet again, they are only getting one side of the story.

We want all our children to benefit from Girlguiding, transgender or otherwise.

The policies need to reflect that everyone should be taken into account, without one group being prioritised to the detriment of another.

And finally, thank you to Fair Play For Women and the leaders and parents who contacted me after reading the other threads. I would never have been able to do this alone Thanks

OP posts:
Chocolate1984 · 30/03/2018 15:45

If someone changes identity does their previous convictions not stay with them?

SuitedandBooted · 30/03/2018 15:46

Well worth reading. Thank you.

Loobyanna · 30/03/2018 15:47

@AgnesBadenPowell thank you for this. The first link you shared is bringing me to a "page not found".

AgnesBadenPowell · 30/03/2018 15:57
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GirlScout72 · 30/03/2018 15:58
AgnesBadenPowell · 30/03/2018 16:02

@Chocolate1984 interesting question. I assume that they do.

All volunteers at GG have to have an enhanced DBS check. You are supposed to include all previous names on the application form. But if you're trans, you can leave off previous names so you don't put yourself.

The applicant is then to contact the sensitive applications team at DBS to advise previous names. They run the checks and issue the certificate but don't mention the previous "dead names".

How they police this and make sure that every previous name is declared to the sensitive applications team, I don't know. Of course most people would be honest but if someone wanted to use self ID to offend, that's a convenient loophole.

I mean to write to DBS to find out more about this process, using FOI if necessary.

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averylongtimeago · 30/03/2018 16:10

I am, as a leader, very glad you have done this. MN is the only place where our concerns as leaders (or parents) can be discussed, everywhere else, including guiding fb groups, any questions are either ignored, blocked and deleted and lead to name calling. I have been called a "bigot" and a terf for having genuine fears for girls having to share female spaces with natal boys.

I do not hate transgender people, but guiding has always been single sex, for natal girls and women only. To change this by the back door with no discussion or consultation is just not on.

Babieseverywhere · 30/03/2018 16:10

"If someone changes identity does their previous convictions not stay with them?"

No, afaik crimes do not transfer with identity change. When a person who has changed their identity goes for crb check, only their new name is checked. The person has the option of ringing the information line and tell the CRB checkers of their previous name and have that checked alongside their new details. So in theory someone with convictions could end up with a clear CRB under a new identity.

MuddlingMackem · 30/03/2018 16:17

Thank you for doing this.

SuitedandBooted · 30/03/2018 16:20

The possible DBS loop-hole is really interesting. I have an enhanced DBS myself, - but I can't recall the layout and questions asked.
I will certainly look into this further, as it is so easy to just assume that "They" (as in the Powers That Be) will have thought of every eventuality, and "They" will be able to stop abuse.
Unfortunately "They" are human, and mistakes happen.

littlestgirlguide25 · 30/03/2018 16:40

Wtf? So a man previously convicted of say, rape, or child abuse, could declare he is a woman, volunteer with Guides, and the convictions wouldn't show on their DBS because they are trans? Is this true??

AgnesBadenPowell · 30/03/2018 16:51

Not quite @littlestgirlguide25

The process is the previous names of a trans person don't have to be declared on the DBS application form. They can contact a special team directly to give their previous names in confidence. These are checked but not noted on the issues certificate - not sure how it works if convictions are against the previous name.

The whole process relies on the trans person contacting the DBS - which of course most will but who will know if they don't? Doesn't have to be trans person either - anyone using self ID as a means to offend has a potential loophole to exploit

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borntobequiet · 30/03/2018 16:59

Not a Girlguider but have been following your threads with interest. The DBS loophole is astounding, and needs more publicity.

bellasuewow · 30/03/2018 17:04

Thank you for doing this op. I too was unaware of the dbs loophole and I really find that quite terrifying.

GirlScout72 · 30/03/2018 17:05

There appears to be a hashtag on twitter #sisterstoallguides being tweeted to @JulieBentley @Girlguiding and @Chief_Guide

I think I might write to my MP, as these safeguarding concerns will apply to all youth groups (I believe the Scouts, whilst mixed sex, for sleeping and sanitary facilities segregate by Gender ID too). Other youth groups unsure what to do will also be watching with interest I hope.

AgnesBadenPowell · 30/03/2018 17:18

Scroll down for more info on the DBS sensitive applications team. It's not clear how they check a person's previous names if that applicant does not come forward. Or if it simply means that the DBS will print details of previous names on the certificate if the sensitive applications team aren't alerted.

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Sashkin · 30/03/2018 17:26

How does that work with “normal” name changes then? Presumably there is some way of ensuring that paedophile John Smith can’t wipe the slate clean by changing his name to Joe Bloggs and just not mentioning his old name to DBS? There must be some way of marrying up the two identities and not just relying on criminals being truthful, surely?

AgnesBadenPowell · 30/03/2018 17:34

@Sashkin the DBS must have ways of checking aliases or names prior to deed poll - for anyone's application. It can't rely solely on the application form, can it? I appreciate that they won't want to say publicly how they do it, put to maintain public confidence they need to reassure people that they do.

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SuitedandBooted · 30/03/2018 17:34

I was a Girl Guide a looong time ago. That was in a quite ethnically mixed troop in Cardiff - (My 2 best friends were originally from Sri lanka). There is no way AT ALL their parents would have agreed to unknown boys changing/washing/sharing sleeping quarters with their daughters.
How is this going to be acceptable to more conservative cultures, and keep Guiding inclusive of ethnic minorities - surely their girls will also effectively be "managed out" of Guides?

MonochromeDog · 30/03/2018 17:41

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Sashkin · 30/03/2018 17:51

Agnes so presumably same thing applies to trans DBS applications?

There are many self-ID concerns I do agree with, but I can’t imagine it is possible to expunge criminal records so easily. Or what is the point of a DBS check if it can be so easily bypassed by fibbing on the form?

DBS checked were brought in in the first place because Ian Huntley changed his name to get the Soham primary school job, and as a result his previous convictions weren’t picked up. So I imagine they did consider how to close that loophole, given that is precisely what it was brought in to fix.

GirlScout72 · 30/03/2018 17:59

The sensitive applications page says:

Sensitive applications team

Customer services
PO Box 165
L69 3JD
[email protected]

Transgender applicants are protected in legislation and are not obliged to include details indicating a previous gender in their application form.

The DBS has a process in place which allows any details indicating a previous gender to be checked without being disclosed on the completed certificate.

They are, however, required by law to provide all name details to the DBS in their current and any previous identity. Deliberately withholding this information may be an attempt to prevent conviction information being revealed and is an offence.

If emailing, we cannot guarantee the security of information until it is in our possession, and will not take responsibility for such information until we receive it.

IStillMissBlockbuster · 30/03/2018 18:01

I think we need expert information about the DBS process, before we get too alarmed. (Still naively thinking this surely can't be so).

IStillMissBlockbuster · 30/03/2018 18:02

Cross posted - that makes sense

drspouse · 30/03/2018 18:05

Can I ask, if you are a parent of a Rainbow, Brownie or Guide or indeed a girl of any age (as your 3 yo could join Rainbows aged 5 but equally your 13 yo could volunteer for DofE or your 17yo when she goes to university) to PLEASE join us, forward the information to your daughter's leaders, and write to GG.
SO many leaders don't know and all the social media groups for leaders are shutting down discussion.

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