Kangs Solicitor
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Abuse Of Trust Allegations

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The Legislation

Sexual Offences Act 2003 (‘the Act’).

Sections 16 – 24 of the Act provide protection for young people aged 16 – 17 who are considered to be vulnerable and open to exploitation by others who hold a position of trust or authority in their lives.

What Is A Position Of Trust?

Positions of Trust are defined in section 21 and 22 of the Act and cover the following possibilities:

  • Looking after persons in educational establishments;
  • Residential settings;
  • Hospital, clinic, care homes, or children’s homes.

The Offences:

 

Section 16 – Sexual Activity With A Child

A person aged 18 or over (A) commits an offence if—

(a) he intentionally touches another person (B),

(b) the touching is sexual,

(c) A is in a position of trust in relation to B,

(d) where subsection (2) applies, A knows or could reasonably be expected to know of the circumstances by virtue of which he is in a position of trust in relation to B, and

(e) either-

(i) B is under 18 and A does not reasonably believe that B is 18 or over, or

(ii) B is under 13. 

Section 17 – Causing Or Inciting A Child To Engage In Sexual Activity

A person aged 18 or over (A) commits an offence if—

(a) he intentionally causes or incites another person (B) to engage in an activity,

(b) the activity is sexual,

(c) A is in a position of trust in relation to B,

(d) where subsection (2) applies, A knows or could reasonably be expected to know of the circumstances by virtue of which he is in a position of trust in relation to B, and

(e) either—

(i) B is under 18 and A does not reasonably believe that B is 18 or over, or

(ii) B is under 13.

Section 18 – Engaging In Sexual Activity In The Presence Of A Child

A person aged 18 or over (A) commits an offence if—

(a) he intentionally engages in an activity,

(b) the activity is sexual,

(c) for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification, he engages in it—

(i) when another person (B) is present or is in a place from which A can be observed, and

(ii) knowing or believing that B is aware, or intending that B should be aware, that he is engaging in it,

(d) A is in a position of trust in relation to B,

(e) where subsection (2) applies, A knows or could reasonably be expected to know of the circumstances by virtue of which he is in a position of trust in relation to B, and

(f) either—

(i) B is under 18 and A does not reasonably believe that B is 18 or over, or

(ii) B is under 13.

Section 19 – Causing A Child To Watch A Sexual Act

A person aged 18 or over (A) commits an offence if—

(a) for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification, he intentionally causes another person (B) to watch a third person engaging in an activity, or to look at an image of any person engaging in an activity,

(b) the activity is sexual,

(c) A is in a position of trust in relation to B,

(d) where subsection (2) applies, A knows or could reasonably be expected to know of the circumstances by virtue of which he is in a position of trust in relation to B, and

(e) either—

(i) B is under 18 and A does not reasonably believe that B is 18 or over, or

(ii) B is under 13.

The Issue of Consent

The age of consent in the UK is 16, however, that rises to 18 where the consensual sexual activity involves one person in a position of trust.

The offences were designed to protect 16 and 17 year olds from being persuaded to engage in sexual activity which would not be criminal except for the offender’s position of trust.

Possible Defences

  • It would be a defence if ‘A’ held a reasonable belief that ‘B’ was 18 or over.
  • ‘A’ would also have a defence if he/she did not know that he/she was in a position of trust or had a reasonable belief that he/she was not in a position of trust.
  • If ‘A’ and ‘B’ are married.
  • ‘A’ has a defence where he/she can prove that a sexual relationship pre-dated the relationship of trust with ‘B’ (only where that sexual relationship was lawful).

The Court Procedure

All of these offences are triable either in a Magistrates’ Court or a Crown Court with the maximum sentence being five years imprisonment.

Who Can I Contact For Advice & Help?

It is imperative that you instruct an experienced solicitor as soon as you are made aware of an allegation being made.

Crucially, it is always important to have a solicitor present in interview at the police station whether it is an interview by appointment or under arrest.

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Legal 500

“One of, if not the best, criminal specialist firms in the country”

Chambers UK

“Its is a first rate firm that is dedicated to its clients and is tenacious in challenging the prosecution”

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Chambers UK

“They are really great lawyers. Their client care is premium”

Chambers UK

“Kangs is a very proactive firm. They are always very quick off the mark in cases, which provides clients with great reassurance. They are always available to meet with clients at short notice, which is invaluable as often the advice sought is urgent”

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