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'Salford Stallion '- would he be treated the same in sport?

8 April 2011

This week a court sentenced a teacher to six years in prison for having underage sex with two of his pupils and sex with a 16 year old pupil. As well as the straightforward convictions for underage sex, he was convicted of sexual activity with a child by a person in a position of trust.

This relatively new offence is set out in the Sexual Offences Act 2003 but only applies in very limited circumstances. Whilst a teacher sleeping with a pupil is clearly caught, the same is not true in sport – there is no offence committed where a sports coach engages in consensual sexual activity with a 16 year old that he or she coaches.

Considering the strong and mutually important relationships that can form between a coach and the individual and the risk of abuse that could exist, it is disappointing that the legislation does not offer those in sport the same protection. This is a change for which the Child Protection in Sport Unit (a joint venture between Sport England and the NSPCC) have been campaigning for some time, and deserves our support.

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