16th March, 2021 7:30 am
Swim England chief executive Jane Nickerson has praised a national campaign for helping to protect 16 and 17-year-olds, with the Government set to close a loophole in the law.
The Ministry of Justice has announced the Positions of Trust law, which currently applies to roles like teachers and social workers, will be extended as part of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.
It is currently illegal for teachers, care workers and youth justice workers to have sex with 16 or 17-year-olds that they supervise.
However, a loophole in the law meant other adults who hold a position of trust over a young person in other settings, such as sport, could legally have sex with them.
Following years of campaigning, the NPSCC’s Close the Loophole campaign has resulted in plans to change the legislation.
Swim England was one of several national governing bodies to support the NSPCC’s campaign and chief executive Jane Nickerson welcomed the extension of the Bill.
She said: “Congratulations to the NSPCC for pursuing this change in legislation.
“We have been a long-time supporter of the Close the Loophole campaign and we’re delighted to see that it has been successful.
“No child taking part in the sports they enjoy so much should ever suffer abuse by someone they trust.
“The welfare of all our members is incredibly important to us and safeguarding is a key priority.
“With Stronger Affiliation now running alongside SwimMark, we have even tighter protocols in place to ensure members know that our affiliated clubs are safe environments with the highest standards of safeguarding checks in place.”
Peter Wanless, NSPCC CEO, said: “”We are delighted that after relentless campaigning, the Government has finally listened to our calls and agreed to close this legal loophole.
“This landmark step sends a clear message that children and young people can return to the extracurricular activities they love without being at risk of grooming by the very adults they should look to for support and guidance.
“Thank you to everyone who stood up for children and threw their weight behind our campaign. With children set to return to activities in spring and summer, we will be looking at the details behind this announcement very closely.”
Source: Swim England (March 2021)
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