The NSPCC has launched a very worthwhile campaign to #CloseTheLoophole. This campaign seeks to change the definition of ‘position of trust’ under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 to include, but not be limited to, “include any adult who holds a position of power over 16 or 17-year-olds”. This would incorporate sports coaches, youth leaders and driving instructors into the law. The safety and well-being of our children and their future is of the greatest importance to any parent and this is why I urge you to get involved and sign up to this campaign.
Under current law, it is illegal for teachers, care workers and youth justice workers to have sex with 16 or 17 years-olds in their care. The loophole, however, does not cover all jobs whether it be paid or voluntary where they hold positions of power, which can lead to adults abusing their power and causing serious psychological harm to the teenagers involved. This is wrong and needs to change now.
This is why I wrote to David Gauke, the Secretary of State for Justice, throwing my support behind this campaign. I have since received a reply from Lucy Frazer, the minister responsible for Criminal Law. She has restated the government’s commitment to protecting children and young people from the scourge of sexual abuse and exploitation. She also states that the whilst the Government takes this area of law very seriously, it has no immediate plans to extend the definition of the position of trust and plans to keep it under review for now as it believes that there is already a range of offences to criminalise behaviour which is pre-emptive of sexual abuse of children and young people.
Whilst I thank Lucy Frazer for her reply, I was personally disappointed with the content as it does not go far enough to try to protect our young people. I will continue to support the NSPCC’s campaign and urge the Government to change the law and close the loophole.
For too long, our young people, the future of our country, have suffered at the hands of a minority of adults who hold positions of power, who think it is okay to sexually abuse those under the age of 18. The law needs to change to safeguard children and young people against these horrific injustices. If you would like to join me in campaigning for a change in the law visit this website: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/what-we-do/campaigns/close-the-loophole/
If you know or suspect that someone has been a victim of abuse, you should not hesitate to seek help. No one should feel that they have to suffer in silence as a result of a adult abusing their authority and power.
You can contact the NSPCC by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, telephoning them on 0808 800 5000 or find further information here: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/what-you-can-do/report-abuse/
Children in need of help or advice can also ring Childline for free on 0800 1111, and the number will not show up on any phone bill.
If someone is in immediate danger, you should ring the Police on 999.