The NSPCC is urging the government to change laws on adults in position of trust as figures have revealed that the number of professionals committing sex offences against teenagers has risen by more than 80% since 2014.
According to figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), there were 290 recorded sex offences involving people in professions such as teaching, youth work and care against 16 and 17-year-olds in 2017.
This is a rise from the 239 recorded in 2016 and an 82% increase from the 159 recorded in 2014. In total, nearly 1,000 crimes have been recorded since 2014, according to official figures.
The NSPCC is urging the government to close "loopholes" which it says allow adults who work as sports coaches or religious leaders to potentially groom children because the current position of trust laws do not apply to them.
The NSPCC has launched their #TrustToLead campaign urging the government to extend current position of trust law to cover adults working as religious leaders, sports coaches, in the arts, and other activities involving children.
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.
"The government must close this loophole to protect children from other adults who use their authority to exploit them."
One child, 'Lee', spoke of how he was groomed as a teenager by a youth leader at a church group.
The boy, whose name has been changed to protect his identity, said: "I didn't have a lot of friends so I felt like I'd made a close friend in Adam. He was paying me attention and I enjoyed his company. It felt like he was really looking out for me.
"It was gradual and quite innocent to start with but I began to feel increasingly uncomfortable. Adam started sitting closer to me on the sofa, trailing his finger over mine - things I thought were strange but not big enough to react to at the time.
"Over time, Adam started to give me extended hugs and kiss my face. As things continued I told him I wasn't comfortable with what he was doing. He didn't listen and instead ramped things up by kissing me on the lips.
"Things escalated when he made us masturbate in the same room as each other.
"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 into trouble. Being unable to talk to anybody about what was happening was making me feel really depressed."
Since June 2014 there have been 922 recorded sexual offences for abuse of a position of trust:
- 159 recorded offences in 2014
- 234 recorded offences in 2015
- 239 recorded offences in 2016
- 290 recorded offences in 2017