Sex crimes committed by adults in positions of trust in London have increased by almost double in the last three years, new figures show.
Data released by the Office for National Statistics in October this year revealed the number of offences where professionals such as teachers, care staff and youth justice workers targeted 16 and 17-year-olds in their care for sex, rose between July 2016 and June 2017 to 20, up from 11 just three years ago.
A total of 58 crimes were recorded by Metropolitan Police between July 2013 and June 2017, with almost 1,000 crimes recorded nationally during the same time.
This month the government announced plans to extend legislation to cover sports coaches, who were previously not included in position of trust laws.
The #TrustToLead campaign from children's charity, NSPCC, is urging the government to expand this further to include religious leaders and adults working in the arts, outdoor pursuits and other activities.
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."
Lee, who's name has been changed to protect his identity, was exploited by a youth leader at his church group.
Adam, who's name has also been changed, befriended Lee and started texting him before asking to spend time together outside of the group.
"Adam started by sitting closer to me on the sofa, trailing his finger on to mine," said Lee, adding: "Things which I thought were weird but not big enough to react to."
When Lee turned 16, things escalated to kissing and sexual activity.
Lee explained: "I was so confused but knew what he was doing was wrong.
"I wanted it to stop but part of me was afraid to speak out because I didn’t want to get him in trouble.
"Looking back now, I realise the level of grooming and manipulation."
The NSPCC urges anyone who feels they need help and support, to contact Childline on 0800 1111 or by visiting the website.
Adults who are concerned about a child can call the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000.
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