Sex crimes by adults in position of trust in Cambridgeshire has risen by 450 per cent in three years

PUBLISHED: 15:01 28 November 2017 | UPDATED: 15:01 28 November 2017

Sex crimes by adults in a position of trust have risen by 450 per cent in three years in Cambridgeshire

Sex crimes by adults in a position of trust have risen by 450 per cent in three years in Cambridgeshire

Archant

Sex crimes by adults in a position of trust have risen by 450 per cent in Cambridgeshire in the last three years, latest figures reveal.

A total of 22 adults abused their positions of trust in the last year.

That figure was just four in 2014.

The figures have prompted the NSPCC to urge Government to deliver on its pledge to extend laws to cover sports coaches.

Currently, laws that apply to teachers and care staff don’t apply to sports coaches or religious leaders.

The NSPCC says the Government must deliver its promise to change the law and protect children.

Peter Wanless, NSPCC chief executive, said: “It’s hard to believe that the law protects 16 and 17-year-old children from being preyed upon in the classroom, but not on the sports pitch or stage.

“We know that some adult youth workers spend years grooming young people and then, as soon as their 16th birthday comes around, they target them for sex.

“Extending Position of Trust laws to sports coaches is an important step in the right direction which will help protect more children from this kind of abuse.

“But to stop there would be a missed opportunity. Government must close this loophole to protect children from other adults who use their authority to exploit them.”

The NSPCC said nearly 1,000 abuses of position of trust had taken place since 2014 across England and Wales

Across England and Wales there was an average 82 per cent rise over the four years, with nearly 1,000 abuses of position of trust since 2014.

• Position of Trust law. It is an offence for someone over 18 in a defined position of trust to engage in sexual activity with 16 and 17 year olds in their care.

• This definition is currently limited to certain regulated settings and positions including education and care settings, clinics, hospitals, voluntary children’s homes, residential family centres, criminal justice settings.

• Sexual activity between an adult youth leader and a 16 or 17 year old child is not currently illegal in most contexts, because the roles such as sports coach or religious leader fall outside the legal definition of a ‘position of trust’.

• The Home Secretary has the power to make the proposed changes – so primary legislation isn’t needed.

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