Former athlete warns: ‘Abuse of trust law must change’

An aspiring Scots athlete whose career was ruined after she was taken advantage of by her coach has called for the abuse of trust law to be widened.

Lara Gorman became involved with her 33-year-old coach when she was just 16 and later lapsed into mental illness when the trainer broke off the relationship.

The current law prevents teachers and social workers from having sex with under-18s in their care but The Christian Institute has warned since 2000 that it does not extend far enough.


Gorman told The Herald newspaper: “Even if he wasn’t a coach he still shouldn’t be doing that to a 16-year-old girl, but it’s even worse that he had that position of authority.”

Earlier this year, the NSPCC called for the Abuse of Trust law to include sports coaches.

Chief Executive of the group Peter Wanless said it was “remarkable” they weren’t already included, “given the significant amount of responsibility, influence and authority” they have.

Too narrow

The Christian Institute has argued that the reach of the Abuse of Trust law is too narrow since before it came into force.

In 2000, the Institute warned that: “The Government’s new ‘abuse of trust’ offence is so narrow that even the Government estimate there will be only 10-15 prosecutions a year.”

In January, a spokesman said: “The Government’s Abuse of Trust law may have been introduced with good intentions. But it is long past time it was extended to other adults in a position of trust.”


The Scottish Government has indicated that it might review current legislation and has written to sporting authorities, encouraging them to “reflect on their current policies and practices on child protection”.