RECORDED sex offences by adults in a position of trust have almost doubled in West Mercia over four years, according to a charity.

The NSPCC has revealed a rise in the last four years, from four in 2014 to seven this year.

In total there were 22 offences over the four years. 

These figures follow a national increase in offences across England and Wales. There was an 82 percent rise over the four year period, with nearly 1,000 abuses of position of trust.

The number of offences whereby professionals such as teachers, care staff and youth justice workers targeted 16 and 17-year-olds in their care for sex rose to 290 in the year to June 2017, up from 159 three years ago.

NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless 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."

Position of trust laws do not currently apply to all adults working with young people, but Government this month announced a plan to extend legislation to cover sports coaches.

The NSPCC’s #TrustToLead campaign is urging Government to go further and extend the law to cover all adults working regularly with children, including religious leaders, adults working in the arts, outdoor pursuits and other activities.

The charity believe the current loophole means adults with regular and intense contact with children in extra-curricular activities are able to groom them from a young age, and abuse that trusting relationship to have sexual contact as soon as the child turns 16.

This follows historic sex abuses in football, which were brought into the public spotlight after footballer Andy Woodward told his story of abuse by convicted former football coach Barry Bennell.

It is an offence for someone over 18 in a defined position of trust to engage in sexual activity with 16 and 17 year olds in their care. But this definition is currently limited to certain regulated settings and positions including: education and care settings; clinics; hospitals; voluntary children’s homes; residential family centres; criminal justice settings.

Thus sexual activity between an adult youth leader and a 16 or 17 year old child is not currently illegal in most contexts, because the roles such as sports coach or religious leader fall outside the legal definition of a ‘position of trust’.

The Home Secretary has the power to make the proposed changes – so primary legislation is not needed.

Any child who has been affected by these issues, can contact Childline 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on 0800 111.

A free NSPCC helpline has also been set up to held adults with a place they can get advice and support, share their concerns about a child or get general information about child protection.

Adults can contact the helpline 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on 0808 800 5000 or by visiting