Thousand hands of Avalokiteshvara

England and Wales: bill to make sex between faith leaders and 16-17 year olds an offence

On Tue, 9 March, 2021 - 17:00
ECA Safeguarding's picture
ECA Safeguarding

Under a bill announced today, faith leaders who have sexual relations with 16 and 17-year-olds in their care will be breaking the law under new legislation planned for England and Wales. This would apply to Order members who teach or have any other involvement with 16-17 year-olds in the context of Triratna activities, or any other context where they are acting as Order members.

The age of consent is 16, yet a person remains legally a child until 18. ‘Position of Trust’ law already applies to social workers, teachers and doctors and it is now proposed to extend it to faith leaders and sports coaches, to protect 16-17 year-olds from exploitation by adults they look up to and upon whom they depend.

Read more here.

In the whole of the UK it is unlawful for any adult (18+) to have sex with any person under 16. Even if the under-16 initiates sexual contact the law regards them as incapable of consent and holds the adult responsible. The same will apply should this proposed law be passed in relation to faith leaders and those aged 16-17 in their care.