Sajid Javid leads calls to shut loophole for sexual predators

Sajid Javid leads calls to shut a legal loophole that lets sexual predators groom children and wants sports coaches and priests to face same rules as teachers

  • He wants the law to be changed so adults in a position of trust are subject to the same rules as teachers
  • He wants them banned from forming relationships with 16- or 17-year-olds they work with
  • Mr Javid says he is ‘appalled by the twisted individuals who dare to sexually abuse vulnerable children’

Sajid Javid is leading calls to close a dangerous legal loophole to protect children from grooming by ‘predatory adults’, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

The former Home Secretary wants the law to be changed so adults in a position of trust, such as sports coaches, priests or driving instructors, are subject to the same rules as teachers and banned from forming relationships with 16- or 17-year-olds they work with.

Writing for MailOnline today, Mr Javid says he is ‘appalled by the twisted individuals who dare to sexually abuse vulnerable children’.

Sajid Javid is leading calls to close a dangerous legal loophole to protect children from grooming by ‘predatory adults’, The Mail on Sunday can reveal

He says the Government must ‘crack down on these vile abusers with the full force of the law, and ensure that there’s nowhere for them to hide’.

The Tory MP for Bromsgrove is working on a report on the issue for the Centre for Social Justice think tank. 

He writes: ‘For an adult man entrusted with the safety of someone’s child to single her out, groom her and start engaging in sexual activity with her as soon as she turns 16? Well, it might be morally repugnant, but it’s currently legal.

‘A teacher who acted in this way would rightly be arrested, as would a care worker.

‘But a loophole in the law means that for some professions, these behaviours are not criminal.’

He says parents send their children to religious groups, sports clubs and driving lessons, trusting the adults in charge. 

‘Those who exploit that trust are currently able to do so without legal consequences,’ he writes.

‘This loophole turns my stomach, and simply has to change.’

Writing for MailOnline today, Mr Javid says he is ‘appalled by the twisted individuals who dare to sexually abuse vulnerable children’. A stock image is used above (file photo]

Describing the sort of situation that closing the loophole would aim to address, Mr Javid says: ‘Picture the following scenario. A 14-year-old girl joins a local swimming club on the weekends. She’s shy and a little lonely at school, but her confidence starts to grow when her coach tells her she is special and talented.

‘This praise means the world to her, and she grows to trust him. Being singled out makes her feel good about herself. When she turns 16, he starts to tell her she’s beautiful. No boy in her class has ever told her this before, let alone a grown man. Things progress and before long he is having sex with her.’

The MP, who was Chancellor of the Exchequer until he resigned last year, is calling for the change to be made in the upcoming Sentencing Bill to ensure that ‘children of all ages are protected from predatory adults’.

He warns: ‘We must recognise that abusers are both determined and clever – if there’s a loophole that allows them to satisfy their disgusting urges at the expense of our kids, they will find it.’

The Mail on Sunday understands closing the loophole would address cases such as that of the Rev Simon Sayers, who was suspended from the priesthood in 2016 for five years after sexual advances he had made toward a 16-year-old schoolgirl in the 1990s came to light.

A Government spokesman said: ‘We have carefully reviewed the law in this area and will set out our plans in due course.’

By Sajid Javid, MP for Bromsgrove

Former Chancellor of the Exchequer and former Home Secretary

I know that like me, Mail on Sunday readers are appalled by the twisted individuals who dare to sexually abuse vulnerable children. 

We are united in our desire to crack down on these vile abusers with the full force of the law, and ensure that there’s nowhere for them to hide.

I know that my colleagues in Government share our strength of feeling, and have done much we can be proud of to crack down on this awful offending. 

But we must recognise that abusers are both determined and clever – if there’s a loophole that allows them to satisfy their disgusting urges at the expense of our kids, they will find it.

So picture the following scenario. A fourteen year old girl joins a local swimming club on the weekends. She’s shy and a little lonely at school, but her confidence starts to grow when her coach tells her she is special and talented. 

This praise means the world to her, and she grows to trust him. Being singled out makes her feel good about herself.

I know that like me, Mail on Sunday readers are appalled by the twisted individuals who dare to sexually abuse vulnerable children. A stock image is used above (file photo)

When she turns sixteen, he starts to tell her she’s beautiful. No boy in her class has ever told her this before, let alone a grown man. Things progress and before long he is having sex with her.

Is this acceptable? For an adult man entrusted with the safety of someone’s child to single her out, groom her and start engaging in sexual activity with her as soon as she turns 16? Well, it might be morally repugnant, but it’s currently legal.

A teacher who acted in this way would rightly be arrested, as would a care worker. But a loophole in the law means that for some professions, these behaviours are not criminal.

Parents send their children to religious groups, sports clubs and even for driving lessons after school, trusting that the adults they’ve delegated their authority to will protect and look after them. 

Those who exploit that trust are currently able to do so without legal consequences. This loophole turns my stomach, and simply has to change.

I’m working alongside the Centre for Social Justice, leading experts and a brave group of survivors to develop new policies that will enable the government to fight back against sexual abuse and the exploitation of our children.

One of the survivors is a wonderful woman named Charlie Webster, who was abused by her sports coach as a teenager. 

Charlie is clear that this loophole enables offenders to groom kids from a young age, and avoid punishment so long as they wait until the day of their 16th birthday to have sex with them.

If this behaviour is unacceptable for teachers, it is unacceptable from any professional in a position of power who is given responsibility for our kids. I urge the government: change the law, so that children of all ages are protected from predatory adults.

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