We must ensure the effective protection of young people, and there is further work to be done to ensure we close the gap on professions not currently covered in the Sexual Offences Act 2003.
It's illegal for teachers, care workers and youth justice workers to have sex with 16 or 17-year-olds in their care. But there's a loophole in the law that means other adults who hold a position of power over a young person can legally have sex with them.
I’ve done extensive work on protecting young people from people in positions of trust, especially around driving instructors. My feeling is that a formal 'position of trust' would ensure everyone knows what the boundaries are. That’s why I’ve long campaigned on the issue and asked the Prime Minister to consider adding driving instructors to the list of professions that are in a 'position of trust' to protect young people under 18 years old.
It’s great that the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) agreed with me that driving instructors are in a position of trust with young (under 18) pupils. That means they have a Duty of Care, like teachers, that sexual relations are completely inappropriate and if they happen it will lead to the dismissal of the instructor.
Clarity for all, greater protection for young drivers and greater peace of mind for parents. Now to have this put in law, as it is for teachers. Three months on from raising a constituent issue with the Prime Minister, the rules on driving instructors have now been changed. See my question to the Prime Minister.