Government agrees to close loophole

Last updated: 06 Jul 2018 Topics: Community and school sports Safeguarding children Type: News article

At present, it’s illegal for certain professionals such as teachers and care workers to have sex with 16- and 17-year-old children in their care. But this doesn’t apply to sports coaches or other youth workers.

In January this year, the NSPCC launched the Trust to Lead campaign, which called for the law to be changed so that adults working in children’s extracurricular activities are held to the same standards as teachers.

On 16 November, Sports Minister Tracey Crouch announced that the Government has agreed to bring the industry into line with the education sector, in which it is illegal for teachers to sleep with pupils under the age of 18.

Anne Tiivas, Head of NSPCC's CPSU, said: 

"It’s hard to believe but, at present, there are no laws to stop a sports coach or youth worker having sex with 16- and 17-year-old children in their care.

"We know that some sports coaches spend years grooming young people and then, as soon as their 16th birthday comes around, they target them for sex.

"Ever since the football abuse scandal broke, we have been strongly urging government to close this loophole that leaves children in sports, and other out-of-school, clubs vulnerable to adults who want to prey on them.

"This announcement is a much-needed step in the right direction but we are keen to hear more about their plans. We will not rest until the Government makes this change which will protect children up and down the country."

We feel this is a promising start and hope to see rapid progress. As further developments occur, we'll keep the sports sector updated via the CPSU news page and Twitter @TheCPSU