Close the Loophole

Help us #CloseTheLoophole in the law so it’s illegal for all adults to engage in sexual activity with any young person under 18 in their care.

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It's illegal for teachers, care workers and youth justice workers to have sex with 16 or 17-year-olds in their care. But there's a loophole in the law that means other adults who hold a position of power over a young person can legally have sex with them. This is wrong and we're calling for the law to be extended to include any adult who holds a position of power over 16 or 17-year-olds.

In January, over 3,500 NSPCC campaigners emailed their MP, asking them to help us #CloseTheLoophole. The Ministry of Justice is now conducting a review into this law. Thanks to our amazing campaigners for helping us reach this breakthrough in the campaign – but it’s not over yet. We need to ensure that no child is left unprotected by professionals in a position of trust and make sure this law is changed.

Why we need to #CloseTheLoophole

Hannah* swam from a young age and took training seriously. She admired her coach Jeff* and would work hard to be given praise by him. When she was 15 Hannah was having a difficult time and Jeff built her trust by supporting her.

"After I turned 16, he started commenting on my appearance which he hadn’t done before. He’d say I looked nice, or that clothes looked nice on me. He’d say I looked beautiful and attractive. I’d not really heard a man say those kinds of things about me before so it felt very new. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it at that time."

Things progressed to the point where they started having sex. The relationship lasted over a year before a disclosure revealed what had been happening. The police questioned Jeff but no charges were brought due to Hannah being over 16.

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This is a true story but names have been changed to protect identities and photographs have been posed by models.