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Call for evidence for abuse inquiry into faith settings

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Safeguarding in Faith Settings has issued a call for evidence.

The focus for the second inquiry is 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.

Under the current legislation, it is 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.

Thirtyone:eight was announced as a core participant for the investigation and review into the current child protection policies and procedures in religious institutions in England and Wales, including non-conformist Christian denominations and Jehovah's Witnesses.

Those within the Islamic, Jewish, Sikh, Hindu and Buddhist faiths will also be reviewed.

The inquiry is inviting individuals and organisations to submit evidence in order to assess the need for any change in current legislation and its application.

The APPG and Thirtyone:eight 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 issues including; 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 report will be published in November 2019.

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