‘Breach of trust’ sex crimes soar in Derbyshire

Peter Wanless
Peter Wanless

The number of recorded sex crimes committed by adults in positions of trust in Derbyshire has rocketed in the last three years.

There were two such offences recorded in Derbyshire in 2014 - this increased to ten in 2017.

Nationally, the number of offences whereby professionals such as teachers, care staff and youth justice workers targeted 16 and 17-year-olds in their care for sex rose to 290 in the year to June, up from 159 three years ago.

‘Position of trust’ laws don’t currently apply to other adults working with young people, however the Government has announced plans to extend legislation to cover sports coaches.

The NSPCC’s #TrustToLead campaign is urging the Government to go further and extend the law to cover all adults working regularly with children, including religious leaders, adults working in the arts, outdoor pursuits and other activities.

The current loophole means adults with regular contact with children in extra-curricular activities are able to groom them from a young age and abuse that relationship to have sexual contact as soon as the child turns 16.

NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless 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 on the 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. Government must close this loophole to protect children from other adults who use their authority to exploit them.”