Former Home Secretary Sajid Javid called for the breach of trust law to be strengthened to protect vulnerable adolescents from sexual abuse.
Currently, the law prohibits adults in certain positions of authority, such as teachers, social workers and the police, from having sex with 16 and 17 year olds in their care, but this does not apply. do not apply to sports coaches, religious leaders. , music teachers or driving school instructors.
Mr Javid has now joined the growing number of people speaking out in favor of changing the law. The Christian Institute has campaigned on the issue for over 20 years.
Writing in The Mail on Sunday, Mr Javid said he was “appalled at the crooked individuals who dare to sexually abuse vulnerable children”.
He said the “vile aggressors” must feel “the full force of the law,” but stressed that they are “both determined and intelligent – if there is a loophole that allows them to satisfy their disgusting urges. at the expense of our children, they will find the “.
He described the scenario of a swimming coach who treats a young girl from the age of 14 and has sex with her soon after she turns 16.
“Is this acceptable? For an adult man responsible for the safety of someone’s child to single her out, groom her, and start having sex with her as soon as she turns 16? Well, it can be morally repugnant, but it is currently legal.
“Turns my stomach over”
The former Home Secretary continued: âA teacher who acts in this way would be rightly arrested, as would a social worker. But a loophole in the law means that for some professions these behaviors are not criminal.
âParents send their children to church groups, sports clubs and even for after-school driving lessons, confident that the adults to whom they have delegated their authority will protect and care for them.
âThose who exploit this trust can currently do so without legal consequences. This loophole turns my stomach around and just needs to change.
He added, âWhile this behavior is unacceptable to teachers, it is unacceptable from any professional in a position of power who is entrusted with responsibility for our children. I urge the government: change the law so that children of all ages are protected from adult predators. “
It’s time to act
CiarÃ¡n Kelly, deputy director of the Christian Institute, welcomed Mr Javid’s remarks and said it was “time for the government to act”.
âIn 2000, we warned that the breach of trust offense was far too narrow.
âLeaving aside sports coaches, religious leaders and others with influence over adolescents was always meant to endanger vulnerable young people. “
Last year, former Sports Minister Tracey Crouch introduced a ten-minute bill to change sex offenses law, reminding the House of Commons that the Christian Institute had called for this even before the legislation was first debated in 2000.
She argued that the Justice Department should have acted immediately to close the loophole when numerous football coaches were accused of sexual abuse in 2016.
She said: “Anyone who is able to influence the direction of another person’s journey in life, which means a balance of power rests on them, should not be able to abuse that position through sex. . “
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