The Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on Oldham Council, Councillor Howard Sykes MBE is “dismayed” at the findings of a recent BBC investigation (9 July) which identified 164 cases of sports coaches engaging in sexual activity with 16- or 17-year olds in their care since 2016.
The Oldham Liberal Democrats proposed a motion to the September 2019 meeting of Oldham Council demanding the Government “close this loophole” in the Sexual Offences Act, making this a criminal offence, as it is with teachers.
Commenting on the investigation, Councillor Sykes said: “It is incredibly sad and disturbing that despite the announcement of then Sports Minister Tracey Crouch that a change in the law had been agreed, three years on this Government has still not amended the Sexual Offences Act to make this a crime. Whilst our young people continue to be abused by adults in authority whom they trust, the Ministry of Justice continues to backpedal saying only that the necessary change in legislation is under review.”
Members of Parliament from across all parties share the view of the Oldham Liberal Democrats that a change in the law is long overdue.
Councillor Sykes added: “Enough is enough. It is time for this government to put the welfare of our young people front and centre and immediately put this change in the law on our statute books. Anything less means our young people continue to be put at risk.”