Law loophole means police cannot act on 127 teenage sexual complaints in West Midlands

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According to the NSPCC there are 127 sexual complaints made by teenagers in the West Midlands which the police cannot act on.

As it stands, teachers, care workers and youth justice workers are legally in a position of trust.

This means it’s against the law for them to have sex with 16 and 17-year-olds that they supervise.

However, the position of trust laws do not cover many other positions such as sports coaches and faith leaders.

This loophole means, teenagers who make a sexual complaint about their supervisor who is not covered by these laws cannot have their case actioned by police because it is not against the law.

The NSPCC have launched ‘Close the Loophole campaign’ to extend the law to cover all adults responsible for young people.

The campaign is hoped to stop children being preyed on as soon as they turn 16, as some adults are abusing their responsibility of their role to have sex with teenagers in their care.

Megan, whose name has been changed to protect anonymity, is an athlete who reported being targeted by her sports coach.

Her sports coach Will, whose name has also been changed, was in his thirties and had been training her since she was 13 years old.

As she turned 16, Megan started to receive sexual messages from him. This later turned into a sexual relationship when she was 17.

Due to a sports coach not being covered by the law, police could not bring charges against him.

The only action made against him was a temporary coaching ban.

Megan said: “We used to speak on webcam and he would ask me to do sexual things but I said no and he would go in a mood when I said no.

“He carried on coaching me and would pick me up first and drop me off last so we’d be alone together in his car or van.

“He’d pull over somewhere quiet and that’s when things would happen.

“I was 17 when we first kissed.

“We didn’t have sex but we did other things. After that happened, he selected me for his other club.

“It was a secret so I felt like I had to delete all of our messages.

“It didn’t feel nice to keep it a secret because it felt like I was lying.

“There were a lot of feelings of guilt involved.”

In England and Wales there have been more than 650 complaints of this kind since 2014.

The complaints were made to councils about adults not covered by the law.

This number could be even higher, as some councils did not to provide figures to the NSPCC.

With the majority of complaints being made about adults working in sports.

But figures also show, there were many complaints being made about adults in scouts and youth work.

November last year former Sports Minister Tracey Crouch announced that the then Department for Culture Media and Sport and the Ministry of Justice agreed to extend the laws to sports coaches.

Since then no action has been made by the government.

Peter Wanless, NSPCC Chief Executive, said: “It is absolutely outrageous that the law protects children in the classroom, but not on the sports pitch, or in a whole host of other activities.

“Government promised to extend these laws to sports coaches, but we’ve yet to see action and I fear they are backtracking.

“Any extension of the law must apply to all adults working with young people.

“To keep children safe this loophole must be closed.

“It is not enough to simply make the loophole smaller.”

For further information about the campaign go to – https://www.nspcc.org.uk/what-we-do/campaigns/close-the-loophole/

NSPCC ChildLine – 0800 1111 or visit https://www.childline.org.uk/.

NSPCC helpline – 0808 800 5000 or visit https://www.nspcc.org.uk.

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