The public is divided over the Government’s recent decision to switch off the ContactPoint database containing details of UK children, with similar numbers either supporting or opposing the measure.
CounterPoint was established in the wake of the Victoria Climbié child abuse case of 2000, in which Victoria, an eight year-old girl from the Côte d’Ivoire, was abused and murdered by her guardians while living with them in London. Her death sparked outrage and led to many reforms in child protection, including the launch of the ContactPoint database to help improve communication between different agencies working with vulnerable children. However, critics argued that the system was ineffective, disproportionate to the problem, overly expensive and unnecessarily intrusive.
But it seems that the public is unsure if switching the database off, which was done with immediate effect on July 22nd 2010, was the right course of action to take in order to address the project’s problems. 37% of British adults oppose the abolition of CounterPoint, but exactly a third (33%) agrees with the move. An additional 30% are unsure of their views. So while there seems to be a degree of opposition to the switch-off, it is relatively muted and not particularly statistically significant when compared to those who support or feel ambivalent towards this recent development.
As expected, there are some differences of opinion along party lines, with 54% of Labour supporters saying that they disapprove of the government’s decision and Conservative voters more likely to agree with it (46%).