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Lord Falconer of Thoroton moved Amendment No. 152:

"( ) an independent clinic,"

The noble and learned Lord said: The primary purpose of abuse of trust offences is to provide protection for young people aged 16 and 17 in circumstances where they are particularly vulnerable to be manipulated into an ostensible consensual relationship by an adult over 18 who holds a position of trust or authority in their lives. One of the positions of trust covered by the offence is where a person under 18 is accommodated and cared for in a hospital or private hospital. Amendment No. 152 is needed to ensure that the offence continues to cover all medical institutions within which healthcare services are provided to persons under 18. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton moved Amendment No. 153:

    Page 10, line 46, after "home" insert ", residential care home"

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Baroness Blatch had given notice of her intention to move Amendment No. 154:

    Page 11, line 5, leave out "full-time"

The noble Baroness said: Amendment No. 154 is grouped with Amendment No. 156. Under Clause 23(5), teachers are defined to be in a position of trust only in relation to full-time pupils. It should not matter whether the pupil is full-time or part-time. If there has been abuse of that situation, both should qualify.

Most pupils study full-time. However, increasing numbers of young people study on a part-time basis. Having read the 14 to 19 paper, I know that it is the Government's policy to encourage that and to develop a more flexible approach to the curriculum between the ages of 14 to 19.

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The Government wish to give more choice to young people in the 14 to 19 phase. Paragraph 3.23 of the Green Paper on 14-19: Extending Opportunities, Raising Standards, which was published last year, states:

    "The current curriculum typically absorbs about 80 per cent of pupils' school day but its minimum requirements could be delivered in 60 per cent. We think that the compulsory elements within the revised curriculum we propose could be delivered in about 50 per cent of pupils' time, so creating significant space for greatly increased choice by pupils and schools".

So the core curriculum at Key Stage 4 is to be slimmed down so as to allow a wider choice of options to young people outside the core curriculum to be educated in other education institutions or to have experience with employers.

The Green Paper states in paragraph 3.28 that:

    "Many young people will continue as now with predominantly general programmes. But increasingly we would expect others to extend the work-related element of their programme—beyond the minimum core we are suggesting for all—to pursue genuinely mixed programmes of study. The involvement of employers, including small and medium-sized enterprises, will be crucial".

There can be absolutely no doubt at all that the numbers of young people aged 14 or over who study part-time will greatly increase. Many more of them will study in school for three or four days a week and take extra courses in other institutions or gain vocational training with employers.

If this happens, under the Bill these young people will no longer be in a position of trust in relation to their teachers. They may spend most of their time at school, but not all of it. Because of this, they will cease to be full-time pupils and therefore be outside the abuse of trust provisions of the Bill.

The situation post-16 already includes substantial provision for young people to study part-time in sixth-form colleges or in school sixth forms. None of these young people will be protected by the Bill.

To omit part-time pupils leads to ridiculous irregularities. For example, one 16 year-old studies full-time at a sixth-form college and is in a position of trust in respect to his A-level maths teacher at the college. Another pupil—

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: I intervene helpfully to indicate that I shall accept the amendment in principle for all the reasons that the noble Baroness is about to explain; namely, that between the ages of 16 and 17 the anomaly between full time and part time is difficult to maintain. Sitting next door to each other in the same class there will be some pupils who are full time and others who are part time. The definition of full time is for funding purposes and not for relationships with teachers.

In principle I accept the amendment. It is not worth wearying the Committee at the moment with my reasons why the wording is not acceptable. I shall return on Report with an amendment to deal with the

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matter. Perhaps I can show the amendment to the noble Baroness before Report stage so that she is satisfied with its wording.

Baroness Blatch: I was on my last paragraph, so I am very grateful. That was a divine intervention which I accept fulsomely. I look forward to seeing the amendment. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton moved Amendment No. 155:

    Page 11, line 6, after "receiving" insert ", and A is not receiving,"

The noble and learned Lord said: The abuse of trust offences are primarily designed to protect young people aged 16 and 17 who, even though they are over the age of consent for sexual activity, are vulnerable to being manipulated into a sexual relationship by an adult who holds a position of trust or authority in relation to them, and thereby has a considerable amount of power and influence over their lives.

Clause 23 provides a full list of circumstances in which a position of trust exists, including a number of institutions where children are looked after by adults. Thus, for example, the offence would criminalise a consensual sexual relationship between someone who teaches in an educational institution and a pupil receiving education at that institution. In an educational institution it is possible for some students to be over the age of 18 and for them to adopt a certain level of trust in relation to other students who are still under 18; for example, a head boy, or head girl or a prefect who supervises homework or detention periods.

It was suggested at Second Reading that as drafted the abuse of trust offences would criminalise a consensual sexual relationship between, for example, the 18 year-old head boy of a school and his 17 year-old girl friend who attends the same school. That was never our intention. We have tabled Amendment No. 155 so that the offence will not apply where A and B are both pupils receiving full-time education at the same institution. I am aware that an amendment has been tabled in relation to part-time students, but perhaps I can deal with that point separately. I beg to move.

Baroness Noakes: I thank the Minister for introducing the amendment. I believe that the origin of the amendment came in discussions that my honourable friend Humfrey Malins MP and I had with his officials before Second Reading. So I shall regard this as the Malins exemption. I thank him for introducing it.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 156 to 161 not moved.]

Clause 23, as amended, agreed to.

[Amendment No. 162 not moved.]

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11.45 p.m.

Clause 24 [Positions of trust: interpretation]:

Baroness Blatch moved Amendment No. 163:

    Page 11, line 25, leave out "regularly"

The noble Baroness said: It is common for staff or temporary staff to be employed for a whole host of reasons in the public services. They may be employed to cover for illness or staff who are away on training. Clause 24(2) states that a person in a position of trust,

    "looks after persons under 18 if he is regularly involved in caring for, training, supervising or being in sole charge of such persons".

Clause 24(3) stipulates that the offender must be,

    "regularly involved in caring for, training or supervising",

the victim.

Does that requirement rule out a supply teacher? Does it protect children from temporary social work staff who work in children's homes? I suspect that the Minister cannot give a definitive answer because the word "regularly" is open to interpretation. I asked that question at Second Reading and among all the letters sent to noble Lords who spoke in the debate, there was no answer to my particular question on the definition of "regularly".

Child protection should not turn on the definition of one word or be left to chance. My amendment would delete "regularly" because wherever abuse occurs in Clause 24, it affects all those in positions of trust under the Bill. The abuse of trust offences all hinge on the definition of what it means regularly to look after a young person.

A supply teacher or other temporary worker who abused a child in their care could claim that the section does not apply simply by arguing that their involvement with the child was not regular but occasional, infrequent or irregular. Some supply teachers work just one day at a school in a period of several months—but could commit an offence.

I am particularly concerned about schools because they routinely use supply teachers—never more so than now. They are not covered by the provisions in Clause 23(5) because the supply teacher does not regularly look after a pupil. Social work departments use agencies to provide social workers to cover for absences or staff shortages. Children's homes and detention centres likewise employ temporary staff.

The three amendments seek to bring temporary or non-regular staff within the definition of a position of trust in Clause 23: temporary staff who look after young people in Clause 23(2); temporary staff in children's homes in Clause 23(3); temporary staff in care homes or hospitals in Clause 23(4); supply teachers in Clause 23(5); temporary mentors in Clause 23(6); temporary personal advisers in Clause 23(7); and temporary staff in youth offending teams in Clause 23(8).

Some of your Lordships will remember the supply teacher Amy Gehring, who was in the headlines a year ago. She was cleared of indecently assaulting two brothers age 14 and 15 but after the trial owned up to having sex with other pupils. In an interview on

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"Today", Ms Gehring—a 26 year-old supply teacher—admitted to a sexual encounter with a 16 year-old pupil. She claimed that she had been too drunk to remember whether she had also had sex with a boy of 15 at another school at which she had taught. Gehring was quoted as saying:

    "The chances are that I could have but I can't remember doing it".

Amy Gehring admitted her involvement with boys at several schools. Her case proves that young people need protection from supply teachers—just as they do from any teacher.

If Amy Gehring had been a full-time teacher, the boys would have been protected by the abuse of trust legislation. Only by deleting "regularly" can we be sure that supply teachers are covered. Other temporary staff in positions of trust ought also to be covered. When a young person in school is abused by a teacher, it should not matter whether the teacher is full time or part time. If the person is in a position of trust, they ought to be caught by the Bill's provisions. I beg to move.

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