Dealing With Childhood Sexual Abuse In Sport

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One story which you can’t have missed in the media over the last couple of weeks is the child sex abuse scandal which has rocked football and which has started a process of investigation to determine the scale of the abuse and identify how to deal with it.

It now appears that these concerns over sexual abuse in sport have no boundaries as the abuse scandal has now extended to cricket, with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to ask Jane Stichbury, a former Metropolitan Police Deputy commissioner, to assist in a review of practices relating to safeguarding within the sport.

The formal ECB review comes in the wake of a child sex abuse scandal that has swept the world of football since former Crewe Alexandra player Andy Woodward revealed he had been a victim of sexual abuse.

These revelations have highlighted that a number of cricket coaches at all levels of the sport have been convicted of child sex offences in recent years, including Marques Church, a former strength and conditioning coach with the England international team and Michael Strange, a coach who scouted for Durham and who was convicted of 10 counts of sexual abuse for which he received a three-year jail term.

It is understood that the police are currently investigating 83 potential suspects who may have targeted up to 350 potential victims at almost 100 clubs; figures which, on top of the potential numbers being suggested in the football abuse scandal, throw a very disturbing spotlight onto not only cricket and football, but UK sport in general.

Today’s safeguard structures have addressed many of the problems now being brought to light, helping to prevent sexual abuse through individual vetting, sports club monitoring and a greater awareness and commitment to eradication of abuse within the sector, but these procedures simply did not formally exist at the time of the ‘historic abuse’ now making the headlines.

As has been widely acknowledged, it takes courage for someone like Andy Woodward to break his years of silence, point the finger publicly at his abuser and seek justice not only for himself, but for those others in his situation.

Having taken that first massive step to bringing the issues into the open, the level of understanding and support for Andy has been immense, encouraging others to add their stories and help kick start the in-depth inquiry which aims to bring things to a successful conclusion for all affected.

And that is the key for every victim of childhood sexual abuse wanting to achieve justice and closure on their experience – the support of experienced legal professionals who not only possess the necessary level of knowledge to pursue a childhood sexual abuse claim, but have the understanding and sensitivity to properly guide and support the claimant throughout the procedure.

Our own advice for anyone seeking to make a claim for childhood sexual abuse in any area of sport is to make sure you look for the measured support of a law practice which can demonstrate these essential characteristics.

For initial details on how the expert DRN team can help pursue a sexual abuse claim, speak to Matthew Finley on 01282 433 241.