As of 28th June 2022, the law states that those in a position of trust in sports organisations, such as a coach, cannot legally have a sexual relationship with young people they look after, under 18 years old.
Although young people aged 16 and 17 have reached the age of consent according to UK law, they could be vulnerable to sexual abuse and exploitation in certain situations. This includes manipulation by adults who hold a position of trust, responsibility, or authority in relation to them, and, as a result, have a considerable amount of power and influence on their lives.
What is a position of trust?
Someone in a position of trust is a person in a position of authority or responsibility over another person. Those in positions of trust have a considerable amount of power and influence on a young persons’ life. For example, a young person may be dependent on their coach, mentor or other adult for their sporting development, success, or position in a club, representative or national team.
What can sports clubs do?
- Review your codes of conduct and linked safeguarding and disciplinary policies
- Attend safeguarding training (UK Coaching Safeguarding and Protecting Children)
- Ensure your members have signed up to your codes of conduct
- Utilise the BWB Safeguarding Resource Library
- Ensure all club members know their safeguarding contacts (ie, have them saved in their phones)
Time2Learn are hosting a free online webinar providing practical advice regarding these changes to the law regarding positions of trust and sport. All BWB clubs are encouraged to attend. Webinar link: https://www.ukcoaching.org/courses/workshops/time-2-learn/36214
The CPSU briefing paper can be found here for further information: https://thecpsu.org.uk/media/446149/preventing-abuse-positions-of-trust.pdf
The BWB Safeguarding contacts can be found here: https://britishwheelchairbasketball.co.uk/rules-regulations/safeguarding/key-safeguarding-contacts/
BWB Safeguarding Library: https://britishwheelchairbasketball.co.uk/club-resources-toolkit/