This article was originally published on MailOnline, 31/01/2021: www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9206047/amp/Sajid-Javid-leads-calls-sh…
I know that like me, Mail on Sunday readers are appalled by the twisted individuals who dare to sexually abuse vulnerable children.
We are united in our desire to crack down on these vile abusers with the full force of the law, and ensure that there's nowhere for them to hide.
I know that my colleagues in Government share our strength of feeling, and have done much we can be proud of to crack down on this awful offending.
But we must recognise that abusers are both determined and clever - if there's a loophole that allows them to satisfy their disgusting urges at the expense of our kids, they will find it.
So picture the following scenario. A fourteen year old girl joins a local swimming club on the weekends. She's shy and a little lonely at school, but her confidence starts to grow when her coach tells her she is special and talented.
This praise means the world to her, and she grows to trust him. Being singled out makes her feel good about herself.
When she turns sixteen, he starts to tell her she's beautiful. No boy in her class has ever told her this before, let alone a grown man. Things progress and before long he is having sex with her.
Is this acceptable? For an adult man entrusted with the safety of someone's child to single her out, groom her and start engaging in sexual activity with her as soon as she turns 16? Well, it might be morally repugnant, but it's currently legal.
A teacher who acted in this way would rightly be arrested, as would a care worker. But a loophole in the law means that for some professions, these behaviours are not criminal.
Parents send their children to religious groups, sports clubs and even for driving lessons after school, trusting that the adults they've delegated their authority to will protect and look after them.
Those who exploit that trust are currently able to do so without legal consequences. This loophole turns my stomach, and simply has to change.
I'm working alongside the Centre for Social Justice, leading experts and a brave group of survivors to develop new policies that will enable the government to fight back against sexual abuse and the exploitation of our children.
One of the survivors is a wonderful woman named Charlie Webster, who was abused by her sports coach as a teenager.
Charlie is clear that this loophole enables offenders to groom kids from a young age, and avoid punishment so long as they wait until the day of their 16th birthday to have sex with them.
If this behaviour is unacceptable for teachers, it is unacceptable from any professional in a position of power who is given responsibility for our kids. I urge the government: change the law, so that children of all ages are protected from predatory adults.