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Sports coaches, faith and cadet leaders are legally allowed to have sex with 16 and 17-year-olds in their care, leading to the campaign from the children’s charity. But it is a crime for teachers, social workers and other professionals legally in a position of trust to have sex with teenagers in the same age group who they care for. The situation has led a brave survivor to reveal her harrowing ordeal after she was preyed upon by a swimming coach as soon as she turned 16.
In a letter to the Lord Chancellor, Hannah, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, catalogues how her swimming coach who she refers to as Jeff abused his position of power.
She would have training sessions with him eight times a week but when she turned 16, he started to compliment her on her appearance before legally having sex with her.
Hannah said: “Jeff was always pushing the boundaries but staying on the right side of the line. Initially he would just give me a hug.
“Then one day he gave me a hug and put his hand on my bottom. Jeff spent a long time making me feel comfortable. This was my first sexual experience but when this relationship came tumbling down, I changed with it. I was left feeling really angry, I was a difficult person to be around. It took me a long time to trust friends and family, to let them hug me.”
She confided in a friend what had happened and then told police but no action could be taken as a result of the loophole.
Thousands of campaigners, including MPs and national organisations, are backing the crusade. So far a 4,420-strong signature petition has been raised in two weeks backing the NSPCC’s Close the Loophole campaign.
Hannah’s letter comes in the wake of a review into the Positions of Trust Law, which is soon due to be released by the Ministry of Justice in the coming weeks.
NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless said: “It’s unacceptable that gaps in our law mean that teenagers are protected from predatory behaviour in the classroom, but not on the sports pitch.”
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