'Position of trust' is a legal term that refers to certain roles and settings where an adult has regular and direct contact with children. Examples of positions of trust include:
- care workers
- youth justice workers
- social workers
It's against the law for someone in a position of trust to engage in sexual activity with a child in their care, even if that child is over the age of consent (16 or over).
There are many roles which are not currently legally defined as being positions of trust, such as swimming coaches, faith group leaders or people running community activities for children. This means it's not currently against the law for people in these roles to have a sexual relationship with a 16- or 17-year-old in their care.
Closing the loophole
We believe it should be illegal for anyone who has a position of authority over children to have a sexual relationship with them and we're campaigning to change the law.
Following our Close the Loophole campaign, the Ministry of Justice has put forward the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. Section 45 of the Bill aims to expand the law in England and Wales to ensure that sports coaches and faith leaders will not be able to engage in sexual activity with 16- and 17-year-olds in their care.
Keeping children and young people safe
Although most people who work or volunteer with children have their best interests at heart, organisations that work with children have a responsibility to prevent anyone who is in a position of authority from abusing a child. This page explains how to recognise if someone in your organisation is abusing their position, what to do if you have concerns and the steps you need to take to keep children safe.