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Number of sex crimes committed by people in positions of trust in region doubles in four years

The NSPCC figures show the number of sex crimes committed by people in positions of trust in the east of England has more than doubled in the last four years. Picture: Adrian Judd

The NSPCC figures show the number of sex crimes committed by people in positions of trust in the east of England has more than doubled in the last four years. Picture: Adrian Judd

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The number of sex crimes committed by adults in positions of trust in the east of England has more than doubled in the last four years.

Figures from the NSPCC show the number of offences where professionals - including teachers, care staff and youth justice workers - targeted 16 and 17-year-olds in their care in the region was 53 in the year up to June 2017, up from 20 in the year up to June 2014.

In Norfolk, the figures fluctuated in that time - zero in 2014, 11 in 2015, nine in 2016 and six in 2017.

Across the east, 149 crimes were recorded over that period.

The NSPCC’s #TrustToLead campaign is urging the government to extend position of trust laws, which make it illegal for people in certain professions to have sex with 16 and 17-year-olds in their care.

While it currently covers education and care settings, hospitals, voluntary children’s homes, residential family centres and criminal justice settings, there are roles which it does not cover - including religious leaders and adults working in the arts.

Earlier this month, the government announced plans to extend the legislation to cover sports coaches.

Peter Wanless, NSPCC chief executive, said: “It’s hard to believe that the law protects 16 and 17-year-old children from being preyed upon in the classroom, but not on the sports pitch or on the stage.

“We know that some adult youth workers spend years grooming young people and then, as soon as their 16th birthday comes around, they target them for sex.

“Extending position of trust laws to sports coaches is an important step in the right direction which will help protect more children from this kind of abuse. 
“But to stop there would be a missed opportunity. Government must close this loophole to protect children from other adults who use their authority to exploit them.”

In Suffolk, there were three offences committed in 2014, two in 2015, nine in 2016 an six in 2017.

Nationally, there were 290 recorded offences for abuse of position of trust of a sexual nature in 2017, and 922 over the four years between 2013 and 2017.

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