Teen sex offender fears

7th July 2006 at 01:00
The Government has sought to defend its policy of allowing some teenage sex offenders to study with other children in colleges, writes Matt Chorley.

Tory MP Andrew Turner questioned why teenagers with a record of sex offending were not treated in the same way as teachers and staff - and blocked from working with children.

At Commons question time on Thursday last week, he asked: "Could you tell me why it's believed that abusers between the age of 16 and 18 or indeed over 18 - when there are in further education colleges people as young as 14 - should be treated any differently from employed abusers?"

Government guidelines say that "the needs of children who abuse have got to be considered entirely separately from the victims".

Beverley Hughes, minister for children, said: "Those people who are employed are in a position of authority and trust vis-...-vis other children and young people, and that's not the case forstudents."

Concerns about the safety of younger teenagers in colleges have previously been raised by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

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