Child Abuse in Sports Clubs
Playing sport and taking part in a hobby at a sports club or organisation is a fundamental part of growing up. Most children who enjoy extracurricular activities, such as football or netball, enjoy the experience and find it rewarding. Sadly, sports clubs can also be an environment where child abusers prey on the young people who are meant to be in their care.
In most of the cases where this has happened, perpetrators have been in a position of trust or responsibility, using their relationship to manipulate children and sometimes their parents. For sports clubs, this could be a coach or any other staff member involved with matches and training. Opportunities to be alone with children can also arise from overnight stays during tournaments or during travel to and from matches.
Unfortunately, the sad reality is that child abuse in sports clubs can happen anywhere and to any youngster – regardless of their gender, race, age or sporting ability.
In recent years, it’s been widely reported that well-known national football clubs, in both the amateur and professional game, have been the subject of allegations of historical child abuse dating back to the late 60s and 70s. During this time, and the decades leading up to the major safeguarding reforms of the late 1990s, it was possible for almost anyone to gain unrestricted access to children and young people in a sports environment. Organisations like the FA have improved their policies and processes with regards to background checks since, but it is acknowledged that major failures saw them fail in their duty of care.
Worryingly, these failures were not exclusive to football. Other sports have also been caught up in this historic abuse scandal – including athletics, tennis, swimming and many other activities.
If you or someone you know has suffered child abuse in sport, we can help to hold the perpetrator to account and claim compensation for the pain and suffering they caused. Although we understand that no amount of money can ever erase or heal the past, it can help survivors pay for private counselling or therapy whenever they may need it. The fact that an abuser will finally have to face justice can also bring a degree of closure.
Whether the abuse took place at a football team or any other sports club, our child abuse claims specialists will fight tirelessly to seek redress. For free and confidential legal advice, please get in touch today – we promise to handle your case with compassion, confidentiality and respect.
What types of sports abuse are there?
Mistreatment of a sexual nature is the most common type of child abuse in sports clubs. This can include sexual acts or threats, inappropriate touching and exposure to inappropriate sexual behaviour or material.
However, it is not just restricted to these types of behaviour. It can also be any form of physical or emotional abuse that psychologically harms a child or young person. It could be a lack of care or neglect, which leads to harm or injury. For example, making a child play or train in excessive heat or keeping a young player on the field to win a game despite knowing they are injured.
Children can also suffer because of poor practice and bullying within a sport setting – although incidents like this are much less in number and are often much more difficult to prove.
If you or someone you know has suffered from child abuse within a sports setting, please get in touch to discuss your case in confidence.
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What can I receive compensation for?
Sports child abuse claims are often made in relation to incidents which happened in the past, sometimes several years ago. No matter when it happened, you may still be entitled to compensation – even if the abuser has since died.
If you were abused by a coach or person in a position of authority, compensation can usually be claimed for any physical and psychological pain or suffering you endured as a result.
Should you have experienced any mental or psychological illness which prevented you from working, it may be possible to claim for loss of past or future earnings. You can also seek redress for the cost of any private counselling or therapy required.
Who would the claim be against?
In most cases of sports child abuse, the perpetrator is the person responsible for causing the abuse.
If the abuser has sufficient assets to warrant lodging a claim against them, a case can be brought against that individual.
Suing a sports club is normally only possible if the abuse which took place was carried out by someone who was working within that club, either as a staff member (for instance a coach) or possibly a volunteer.
The club can be held liable for the wrongdoing of that person. The club does not have to commit any wrongdoing itself and claims of this nature are, usually, paid for by their insurance company.
It is also possible to seek compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA), a fund which was set up by the Government to compensate innocent victims of crime. Unlike a civil case, CICA compensation claims are made according to a published tariff and paid from the taxes that we all pay.
If you choose to enlist our help, our sports abuse solicitors will advise you about which is the best way to successfully pursue your claim.
What time limits apply to making a claim?
For those who have suffered child abuse in sports clubs, it can be extremely difficult to come forward and when they do it’s important to receive expert advice.
There are time limits for bringing a compensation claim. However, it is possible to pursue justice and receive compensation even if the offence occurred many years ago. It’s important that you speak to our expert lawyers as soon as possible about protecting your claim.
Whilst the time limits for making a claim can be very strict, the courts do extend them and they understand that these are highly-sensitive cases. But we would still encourage anyone who wants to seek redress to get in touch with our expert lawyers as soon as possible.