On 15 August, the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Safeguarding in Faith Settings issued a call for evidence for its second Inquiry on whether there should be a change in legislation relating to ‘Positions of Trust’ within faith settings. The Press Release is reproduced below.
New Inquiry launched with call for evidence
15 August 2019, Thirtyone:eight
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Safeguarding in Faith Settings has issued a call for evidence as it launches its second Inquiry, which will focus on whether there should be a change in legislation relating to ‘Positions of Trust’ within faith settings. This Inquiry comes as the Ministry of Justice undertakes a review of the current government legislation.
The intended objective of the Inquiry is to publish a report detailing current knowledge on whether there is a need for changes to be made to ‘Positions of Trust’ within the Sexual Offences Act, 2003 to ensure faith settings are sufficiently within scope to allow young people to be better protected from harm. The report will be published in November 2019.
Under the current legislation, it is currently illegal for groups of professionals such as teachers, care workers and youth justice staff to be involved in sexual activity with a 16 or 17-year-old under their supervision. However, other adults who hold similar positions of power within settings such as faith and religious organisations and sports teams, are not covered by the current provisions.
The inquiry, which is the second of the APPG, includes a call for evidence inviting individuals and organisations to submit evidence in order to assess the need for any change in current legislation and its application. The APPG are calling for organisations, professionals and others who are able to contribute towards establishing a fuller picture of the issue.
Evidence submitted will need to address one or more of the following:
- The need for a change in legislation underpinned by specific knowledge, research and/or case examples from work within a faith or religious community
- The need for a change in legislation underpinned by specific knowledge, research and/or case examples from working alongside faith or religious communities (statutory and voluntary sector organisations and others)
- The need for a change in legislation underpinned by specific knowledge, research and/or case examples from those working in other sectors (outside faith) where transferable learning might benefit the findings of the inquiry.
- Evidence to support no change to the existing legislation around Positions of Trust.
In the first instance, the APPG is inviting written submissions addressing the above. A limited number of those submitting written evidence will then be invited to attend an open session of the group to give oral evidence to support their written submission. The evidence session will be held at the Houses of Parliament on Tuesday 22 October. Those submitting evidence will be advised if their evidence is to be used within the report prior to publication.
Written evidence should be submitted prior to the meeting by email to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 5pm on Friday 20 September so that submissions can be collated and invitations for oral evidence can be made. Please contact Jackie at email@example.com should you have any queries in relation to this inquiry or the call for evidence.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Safeguarding in Faith Settings was launched on 12th September 2018 and details of its membership are given in our post here. The Group is co-chaired by Sarah Champion (Lab, Rotherham) and Michael Tomlinson (Con, Mid Dorset and North Poole), and the Secretariat is provided by thirtyone:eight (formerly CCPAS, the Churches Child Protection Advisory Service). The latest news and updates on the group are to be found on the Twitter account @APPG_SafeFaith and on the group’s website.
thirtyone:eight is an independent Christian charity “which helps individuals, organisations, charities, faith and community groups to protect vulnerable people from abuse”.
All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs), such as the one on Safeguarding in Faith Settings, are “informal, cross-party interest groups of MPs and Peers interested in a particular issue. They exist to help other MPs from all parties become better informed about a particular policy area. APPGs do not have any power to make laws and are not funded by Parliament”.
An Associate Parliamentary Group (APG) is similar to an all-party parliamentary group except that it is made up of not only members of the House of Commons or Lords but can also include members from outside Parliament.