After 20-year campaign Christian Institute welcomes “long overdue” ‘abuse of trust’ changes
The Christian Institute has welcomed Government proposals to extend laws preventing adults in ‘positions of trust’ from engaging in sexual relationships with 16 or 17-year-olds in their care to include sports coaches and religious leaders. It will bring the roles in line with teachers, doctors and social workers.
The change is included in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill due to be introduced this afternoon.
The Institute has more than 60,000 supporters throughout the UK, including more than 4,500 churches.
It began campaigning for a comprehensive abuse of trust offence in 2000. It followed detailed analysis of the scandalous abuse uncovered by the Waterhouse inquiry into children’s homes in North Wales.
Deputy Director, Ciarán Kelly welcomed the news, calling it an opportunity to “correct the mistakes of the past”.
“We’re delighted that the Government is finally taking decisive steps to deal with the glaring omissions in the law. This is long overdue.
“We’ve been saying for more than twenty years that the Abuse of Trust offence is far too narrow. It was always obvious to us that leaving sports coaches, religious leaders and the like out of the scope of the law would put vulnerable young people at risk.
“We’re pleased that this Government is finally taking action to correct the mistakes of the past. It must now make sure the changes are watertight.
“The Bill can still be improved and encompass driving instructors and music tutors for example. We want to ensure the no loopholes remain. This is a chance to finally put things right. We don’t want to be back here again in another 20 years.”
Notes for Editors
The Christian Institute is a non-denominational registered charity, which seeks to promote the Christian faith in the UK.
It was founded in 1991 by Christian church leaders and professionals and it currently campaigns on a range of issues including marriage and the family, child protection, pro-life concerns, drugs, religious liberty and education, as well as Christianity and the constitution.