After a two-year campaign this was the response of Oldham Liberal Democrat Group Leader Councillor Howard Sykes MBE on finally receiving confirmation that a loophole in sexual offences law will be closed.
Under current ‘Position of Trust’ legislation, certain individuals with responsibility for young people aged 16 and 17 years can legally engage in sexual activity with those young persons, even though they are often very vulnerable.
For over two years, Councillor Sykes and his Oldham Liberal Democrat colleagues have been campaigning to close the hoop hole by making it a sexual offence for any person in authority to engage with a young person in their care.
In October, Councillor Sykes wrote to the newly appointed Lord Chancellor asking the government to move forward with the necessary new legislation. Finally (29 November) he has received the good news he has been waiting for.
“In September 2019, the Liberal Democrats first took a motion to Oldham Council calling on the government to outlaw sexual activity involving young people and persons in positions of trust.
“Now the Justice Ministry has finally confirmed that there is ‘a clause in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill which will do just that’. This Bill is currently going through Parliament. Although there are many criticisms that can be levelled at the Bill, this at least is one positive element to look forward to.
“The day cannot come soon enough when this additional legal protection for our vulnerable young people is in place.”