A Conservative MP has told Theresa May that driving instructors should be banned from having a sexual relationship with their students in the same that teachers are.
Richard Graham stated that he feared young drivers might be at risk “of being groomed by predatory instructors” as he raised a case from his own Gloucester constituency that he had been made aware of.
The MP told the House of Commons that instructors who are in a position of trust should not be allowed to have sex with their students – regardless of if they are over-16.
The law prohibits a teacher from having sex with their pupil even if they are over the legal age of consent because they are in a position of trust.
Mr Graham raised the case of a concerned father in his constituency who was concerned about the relationship between his 17-year-old daughter and her middle aged driver instructor.
Mr Graham said: “It is a criminal offence for those like teachers in a position of trust to have a sexual relationship with young people under 18.
“A constituent came to me recently distressed about exactly such a relationship between his 17-year-old daughter and a middle aged driving instructor.”
He added: “Now while if consensual this is not illegal, I am concerned that there might be risks to young drivers of being groomed by predatory instructors.
“So does (Mrs May) agree with me that driving instructors are by the nature of their work in a position of trust, should be covered by the same rules as teachers, and if so would she ask the relevant minster to work with me on this?”
Mrs May replied: “I’m concerned to hear the case of his constituent that you have raised, and I recognise the position and the role that driving instructors play.
“Can I say to him, I think this is something that I will ask the appropriate department to look at and to get in touch with him to get further details of his case.”
The Driving Instructors Association (DIA) raised concerns about the lack of safeguarding training for ADIs earlier this year and has now launched courses in this area.
Olivia Baldock-Ward, Head of Training at DIA and a highly experienced ADI, said: “Safeguarding training should be a core building block in the qualification of new trainers and should certainly be an important element of CPD for any existing ADI.
“Recognising your roles and responsibilities regarding safeguarding is an important element of protecting your pupils and your own professionalism.”
The DIA have been travelling across the country, delivering the safeguarding course. Head over to driving.org/events/category/working-lunch/ for more information.