Many of our members attended a consultation in January 2010 with regards including sports coaches within the ‘Abuse of Trust’ provisions of the Sexual Offences (Northern Ireland) Order 2008.
The Minister of Justice, David Ford, having considered the response from sports Governing Bodies to this consultation has taken the decision not to include sports coaches within the established positions of trust framework.
In a letter to Sports Minister Mr Nelson McCausland, giving his reasons for this decision, Mr Ford wrote, “I have since looked at the report of the consultation with the sports bodies, which I accept as being fully representative of the range of sports in NI and have considered the issue of extending the positions of trust in the Sexual Offences Order 2008.
Having done so, I have concluded that the policy underpinning these offences was never designed to include positions outside of the strictly formal definition in the current legislation and that to add sports coaches as a single group would be outside of the scope originally envisaged.
That, along with the opposition of the sports bodies being singled out in this way, the unclear nature of the evidence surrounding whether there is a real problem to be addressed; and the difficulties of defining a sports coach in legislation, has led me to decide that I will not amend the current Order”.
To view the full correspondence from the Justice Minister please click on the link in the download box.