1 November 2019 | Podcasts | Article by Alan Collins
There are calls for child protection laws to be updated so that those in faith settings who are in a position of trust can be prosecuted if they sexually abuse young people aged 16/17, as they are considered to be a responsible person.
Teachers for example are in a position of trust in relation to their pupils. It is a criminal offence if they abuse that position by having a “relationship “ with their pupil. Readers will be familiar with the soap story line in Emmerdale, where a teacher had a longstanding sexual “relationship “ with a pupil.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Faith Settings has recently taken evidence on the issue and received submissions that those in positions of trust, for example elders, should be covered by the law too. Sam Barker, a solicitor in the Hugh James abuse team, made a submission in relation to Jehovah's Witnesses and argued that mandatory reporting is needed, otherwise the law may remain ineffectual.
The APPG took evidence that sexual abuse of young people in faith settings was possibly under reported and possibly not fully understood. Therefore, law reform was pressing.
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