January 28, 2020
Churches are seeking a change to the law to expand safeguarding protections in faith organisations and sports clubs.
The current provisions around ‘positions of trust’ make it illegal for teachers, care workers and youth justice staff to engage in sexual activity with a 16- or 17-year-old under their supervision. However, they do not extend to adults in similar positions of authority within churches or sports teams.
In a report launched on Tuesday, the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Safeguarding in Faith Settings warned that the current loopholes are leaving 16- to 17-year-olds exposed to greater risk of grooming and abuse, and making it possible for faith leaders or sports coaches to engage in sexual activity with them “with impunity”.
The APPG wants to see the law changed so that the definition of ‘positions of trust’ is extended to any adult working with children while in a position of trust.
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