We tend to think of our youngest children being the most vulnerable to those who sexually assault young people. However, even teenagers are potential victims to those who seek to cause harm by way of a sexual assault. Concern was expressed in October 2017, when a Member of Parliament raised concerns in the House of Commons, following an approach from one of his constituents.
Richard Graham MP (Gloucester) reminder MPs that it is a criminal offence for those, such as teachers, who are in a position of trust to have sexual relationships with young people under 18. However, he went on to advise the House of Commons that a constituent came to him distressed about exactly such a relationship between his 17-year-old daughter and a middle-aged driving instructor.
He went on to say that while—if consensual—that is not illegal, he was concerned about the possibility of young drivers potentially at risk of being groomed by predatory instructors.
He invited the PM to agree that driving instructors are, by the nature of their work, in a position of trust, and should be covered by the same rules as teachers. He raised this question as whilst there are some occupations that demand a Disclosure and Barring Service Check (a criminal record check), and indeed some settings, such as schools, that require more thorough checks than in many other occupations, such checks are not necessary for a driving instructor.
Theresa May said she would raise the request from the Gloucester MP with a government department. Hopefully action will be taken swiftly to plug this loophole in the law that allows would be sexual predators easy access to young people.
Although the MP for Gloucester raised concerns on the basis of one parent’s distress, it is clear that there is justification for concern. As an example Wayne Dale, driving instructor, was found guilty of indecent assault. The instructor told the girl she could have free driving lessons in exchange for sexual favours.
In another case, Gary Rolinson, from the Black Country, was convicted of assaulting six young male students while they were having lessons. He was eventually convicted of 13 offences of sexual assault and one of causing a person to engage in sexual activity, involving a total of six 17 and 18-year-olds between 2012 and 2014.Gary Rolinson was jailed for four years.
In late 2017 a driving instructor was handed a suspended prison sentence for historic sex offences against two young women. Stephen Wright of Cannock was found guilty of 4 sexual assault charges, committed between 2010 and 2014. This case demonstrates that even teenagers, aged 17 and 18, are vulnerable to sexual assault.