Sports Coaches (Positions of Trust)

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 11:00 am on 4th March 2020.

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Photo of Tracey Crouch Tracey Crouch Conservative, Chatham and Aylesford 11:00 am, 4th March 2020

I remember the debate that the hon. Gentleman mentions and to which I responded. I entirely agree that there has been far too much talk, which is why I secured this debate.

I will return to what sport was doing in 2016 and early 2017 to maximise protections against abuse in sport. As well as football, other sports—with support from Sport England and the NSPCC child protection in sport unit—also made positive changes in a relatively short time to the way that they keep their participants safe. They rightly took responsibility and took it seriously.

They asked for just one thing from the Government, which was to extend the positions of trust legislation to include sports coaches. That was a perfectly reasonable request—one with which the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport agreed—but the Government have failed to deliver on that ask and, as a result, we have potentially put other youngsters at risk from abusive coaches.

Under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, it is illegal for certain professions, such as teachers, to engage in sexual activity with a 16 or 17-year-old, as they are considered a person in a position of trust. The Act proscribes a limited number of roles but does not extend into a range of non-statutory settings that may be subject to far less scrutiny than those covered by the Act.