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1 November 2019 | Podcasts | Article by Alan Collins

HJ Talks About Abuse: All-Party Parliamentary Groups – Positions of Trust in Faith Settings

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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.

If you enjoyed listening to this episode of the HJ Talks About Abuse podcast, you can listen to our other episodes on your favourite streaming platforms with the buttons above.

All of our episodes are also available to listen to on our website. To find out more about what Alan and Sam do, visit the abuse page.

Author bio

Alan Collins


Alan Collins is one of the best known and most experienced solicitors in the field of child abuse litigation and has acted in many high profile cases, including the Jimmy Savile and Haut de la Garenne abuse scandals.  Alan has represented interested parties before public inquiries including the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry, and IICSA (Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse).

Internationally, Alan works in Australia, South East Asia, Uganda, Kenya, and California representing clients in high profile sexual abuse cases. Alan also spoke at the Third Regional Workshop on Justice for Children in East Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok hosted by Unicef and HCCH (Hague Conference on Private International Law).

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.


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