A total of 23 adults abused young people in their care in Cambridgeshire
- Credit: Archant
Offences involving adults in positions of trust who have sexual contact with children in their care have risen to 23 last year in Cambridgeshire, official figures shows.
The NSPCC fears the true extent of abuse is much worse, because the law doesn’t apply to youth work roles such as sports coaches and leaders of religious groups.
There has been a 57 per cent increase in recorded abuse of position of trust offences in England and Wales where professionals such as teachers or care staff have sexual contact with 16 or 17-year-old children they work with.
In total, 1,290 offences have been recorded since 2011-12.
In Cambridgeshire there have been 36 recorded offences since 2011-12. Last year (2016/17) alone there were 23 recorded offences.
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The NSPCC’s #TrustToLead campaign is calling for laws on Position of Trust to be extended, to better protect children in sport and other youth activities.
A legal loophole means adults with regular and intense contact with children in sport and other activities are able to groom them from a young age, and abuse that trusting relationship to have sexual contact as soon as the child turns 16.
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NSPCC Head of Policy Almudena Lara said: “Safeguarding in children’s clubs should not end suddenly at 16. The NSPCC has been told of a number of cases where in sports and other youth work settings, leaders have used their position to groom children, and then take advantage of them as soon as they turn 16.
“It is baffling that sports coaches and other youth workers are not deemed to be in a position of trust, given the significant responsibility, influence and authority that adults in these roles have over the children they are there to look after.
“Sadly, we know that this trust can be abused and it is therefore vital that this legal definition is widened to include sports coaches and other youth workers, bolstering protection for teenagers at risk of grooming once they pass the age of consent.”