More than 45,000 people are prohibited from working with children in Spain because of their criminal records. The Central Registry of Sex Offenders, in force since 2016, collects the data of 45,155 people (42,581 adults and 2,574 minors) on which weighs a final sentence for a crime of a sexual nature, which prevents them from accessing jobs in which they have direct contact with minors.
So far this year, 1,144,381 people have applied for the mandatory certificate that shows that they lack this criminal record. 300 have not achieved this safe conduct.
Teachers, dining room monitors, sports trainers, but also NGO workers, priests or film industry personnel. Whoever carries out an activity that involves being in regular contact with minors has been obliged for the past two years to have a certificate stating that they have no criminal record for sexual crimes, whether committed against adults or against children.
This document is issued by the Ministry of Justice, after verification that the interested party is not registered in the registry that collects the identity and DNA of all persons convicted in a final judgment for crimes against freedom and sexual indemnity or for trafficking in human beings for the purpose of sexual exploitation, including pornography.
When he was born, in March 2016, he included 40,782 names. Two and a half years later, another 4,473 people have joined the list, 64 of them minors, according to the latest data available, corresponding to last August 31. By number, the three most populated communities (Andalusia, Catalonia and Madrid) are also those with the most inhabitants included in this file (8,567, 7,015 and 4,683, respectively).
The register, under the Ministry of Justice, was created following the recommendations of the Council of Europe agreement for the protection of children against sexual exploitation and abuse, signed in Lanzarote in 2007. The signatories committed themselves, among other initiatives, to adopt the necessary measures "so that the conditions of access to the professions whose exercise entails the habitual contact with children guarantee that the aspirants to exercise said professions have not been condemned for acts of exploitation or sexual abuse of children".
To adapt to this text, Spain regulated through a royal decree the central register of sex offenders and the issuance of certificates. Between March 1, 2016 and August 31, more than five million certificates (5,126,590) have been processed. Of these, 1,410 were requested by people registered in the registry, so they did not obtain the necessary permission to access a job that requires contact with minors.
The certificate can be obtained on-line or in person by the interested party and, with the prior permission of the interested party, can also be requested directly by the employer. The education sector monopolizes a large part of the requests, since all nursery, school and institute workers must have this permit. After the initial doubts, the system works without complications, according to the Secretary of the Teaching Federation of CC OO, Francisco García. In the case of public education, it is usually the Administration that processes the documents, while in the private one, in some cases the teachers do it and in others, the centers do it.
The information about the people registered in this file is not public. It can only be used by judges and courts, the prosecutor's office and the judicial police for the prevention and prosecution of sexual crimes. With this registry, Spain joined the list of countries that have similar censuses. In the United States began to be implemented in the mid-twentieth century and most are open access. The United Kingdom, France and some German Länder have restricted access lists similar to Spanish, although with some differences. The United Kingdom includes people not convicted, but who are considered at risk of committing a sex crime. The one in France, on the other hand, only registers the perpetrators of some crimes if the victim is a minor.
Spain's decision to include all sex offenders generated criticism from some experts. The European agreement only committed States to control those convicted of exploitation or sexual abuse of minors, but the Government chose to expand it, the General Council of the Judiciary endorsed it and no party or entity appealed.
30 years of prohibition
The norm does establish a difference according to the age of the victim in the period of cancellation of the inscriptions, unless the convicted person is a minor. If the victim of the crime was older than 18 years when the events occurred, the convicted person will no longer be in the registry when his or her background is canceled according to the provisions of the Penal Code (between six months and 10 years, depending on the severity of the penalty). But if the victim was a minor, the registration is maintained for 30 years, regardless of the seriousness of the crime and the penalty.
In practice, this implies what some experts have criticized as a "perpetual disqualification" to work with children, regardless of the seriousness of the facts. "There is no proportionality. The logical thing would be that the prohibition of working with minors took into account factors such as the seriousness of the crime and the possibility of recidivism, "advises Concepción Molina, professor of Criminal Law at the Pontifical University of Comillas and author of the study. With regard to the constitutionality of Royal Decree 1110/2015 that regulates the Registry of Sex Offenders, in which the legality of the file is questioned. A judge from Zaragoza also questioned its constitutionality and last February gave the reason to a teacher who appealed the obligation to present the certificate imposed by the Aragón Ministry of Education. According to the ruling, which has been appealed by the Administration, the law decrees a "tacit" disqualification far superior to that contained in the Criminal Code.
The Secretary of Education of CC OO admits that "there is debate" regarding the length of registration in the registry that prohibits working with minors, but, for now, they value the norm positively. "There is no doubt in the social debate that people who have committed this type of crime can not work with children," says Francisco García.
The year 2017 was the first full year in which the central register of sex offenders worked. In that period, 2,280 convicted adults were added to the file (96.4% men and 3.6% women). According to data from the National Institute of Statistics, the majority are authors of sexual abuse (956 cases, 320 with victims under 16), followed by prostitution and corruption of minors (642) and exhibitionism and sexual provocation (414). There were 387 convictions for sexual assaults (27 of them were considered rapes).
In that first year of full operation, 269 minors (99.6% men and 0.4% women) were added to the file. These condemned committed 332 sexual crimes, of which 107 were considered sexual abuse (79 to under 16 years) and 103, aggression (of them, five violations). In addition, 19 convictions were registered for prostitution and corruption of minors and 14 for exhibitionism and sexual provocation.
While for adult offenders convicted of crimes committed against children, the norm establishes a 30-year registration period, for convicted minors the registration in this file is canceled while prescribing criminal records to "enable reintegration" "And prevent offenders from being" stigmatized ".