Imagine a country where strangers have the right to ask intrusive questions and store the answers on a database.
Where everyone from police officers to leisure-centre staff can demand: “Tell me who you feel close to?”
They will also have been trained to ask questions about sexual behaviour, family life, religion, secret fears, weight and “sleeping arrangements” at home.
Incredibly, thousands of Government and council apparatchiks in Britain became entitled on April 1 to ask such questions of anyone under 19.
This horrifying invasion of privacy has begun, almost unnoticed, because the Government has cleverly presented it as being in the interests of “child protection”.
Far too PC: Police officers say having to question youngsters about their diet is ‘insane’
The new questionnaire, known as the Common Assessment Framework (CAF), is part of a £20million programme called Every Child Matters (ECM), ostensibly set up to ensure youngsters are safe and leading positive lives.
Professionals – such as police officers, teachers and doctors – and volunteers are now under orders to subject children to a questionnaire if they consider them “at risk”: a definition so broad that many decent parents could find themselves labelled as potential abusers.
The questions don’t need a parent’s consent since any child over 12 is deemed responsible enough to grant permission for an interview.
Any child not achieving the Government’s five “outcomes” – being healthy, staying safe, enjoying life, “making a positive contribution”, and achieving ” economic well-being” – is now defined as having “additional needs”.