Can DBS Checks Be Done On People Aged Under 18?
It’s a question that gets asked regularly – do under 18s need to be DBS checked for certain roles and is it even possible for them to get a DBS check?
People under the age of 18 are classed as “minors” in the eyes of the law. In other worlds, they are still children until they reach adulthood on their 18th birthday.
But because they are minors, does that mean that they should be exempt from criminal record checks? What if the under 18 is applying for a job as a childminder or care worker? They are in a position of responsibility involving children and vulnerable adults, so surely they should be subject to the same checks?
That’s what we’ll try to discover in this article – whether under 18s are able to get DBS certificates.
A Brief History Of Criminal Record Checks
Before the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) of England and Wales was established in 2012, criminal record checks were carried out by the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB). Under the CRB check system, you could apply for a check on children as young as 13 years old.
Between 2002 and 2008, around 750,000 children (minors) had CRB checks carried out, with around 5% of those checks being carried out on children aged between 13 and 15.
The rationale behind this system was that, in the eyes of the law, children aged 10 or over are treated as criminally responsible for their actions. In other words, they can be charged and prosecuted from age 10 or over. Therefore, the CRB checks were used when minors applied to work or volunteer in a role that is classed as a regulated activity – i.e. one that involves close contact with other children or vulnerable adults.
The Law Changes
In 2012, due to a backlash from parents, campaigners, and civil rights groups, the law was amended to state that criminal record checks cannot be conducted on people under 16. It was recognised that juvenile law and the rehabilitation of offenders act were supposed to prevent young people from the stigma of a criminal record that will affect their future life chances.
The Present Law
As it stands at the moment, the law says that DBS checks cannot be carried out on children under the age of 16. This means that anyone aged 16 or over can be DBS checked for positions that require it.
The age 16 was chosen, as that is when children can leave school. Therefore, they may apply for jobs that involve working with vulnerable groups and regulated activities, which means that a DBS check will be essential.
How To Apply For A DBS Check
16 and 17 year olds that are applying to work full-time or part-time with vulnerable groups, in either a paid or voluntary role, will need to apply for a DBS check. If they only require a basic DBS check, this can all be done online by the individual. If they need a standard or enhanced DBS check, it needs to be submitted on their behalf by a third party – usually the employer or registered body.
To find out more about DBS checks, please check out our other blog posts or get in touch today.