It's illegal for teachers, care workers and youth justice workers to have sex with 16 or 17-year-olds in their care. But there's a loophole in the law that means other adults who hold a position of power over a young person can legally have sex with them. This is wrong.
At present only people such as teachers, care workers and youth justice workers are legally in a position of trust, meaning it is against the law for them to have sex with 16 or 17-year-olds that they supervise.
This means that if adults working in any other settings, such as sport, have sex with children aged 16 or 17 under their supervision, it is not currently a crime, even if the adult has a significant level of power, responsibility and influence over the child.
In November last year, former Sports Minister Tracey Crouch announced that the then Department for Culture Media and Sport and the Ministry of Justice had agreed that Position of Trust laws would be extended to sports coaches.
But no action has been taken, and the Ministry of Justice has since written to the NSPCC making clear that the Government believes laws on the age of consent and on non-consensual sexual activity provide adequate protection for 16 and 17 year olds who are preyed upon by adults who supervise them.
Through its Close the Loophole campaign, the NSPCC is lobbying government again to change the law and protect young people in sport, but they need your support.
How does the loophole affect sport?
In the last 4 years, police in England and Wales have recorded 1,025 crimes of abuse of position of trust of a sexual nature across sectors.
Over the same 4-year period, there were 653 complaints of this nature made to local authorities. Out of over 40 applicable sectors that this loophole affects, around 33% of these complaints related to sport.
The NSPCC feels that to extend the law only to cover sports roles, would be a missed opportunity and still leave many children unprotected in other sectors.
You can find out more below and use the NSPCC's tool to email your MP and demand a change to the law.
Help to #CloseTheLoophole
If you need any help or advice in relation to safeguarding, you can email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org