Sport and outdoor activity can play an important role in a child’s life, sadly there are some coaches who use their position to abuse the children they work with. Since November 2016, when Andy Woodward, Steve Walter, Paul Stewart and other footballers came forward to tell their stories of child abuse in youth football, the wider issue is starting to be heard.

Unfortunately It’s not only football clubs that abuse took place in but across a wide number of different sports, most of which have had scandals hit the front pages in recent years. We’re here to help those directly effected by the abuse that took place at the hands of abusers. Our solicitors have dealt with hundreds of cases involving sexual abuse over the course of their careers so you’ll be in capable hands.

Sports club abuse solicitors

In the UK alone, there are thousands of football clubs for children, not to mention rugby, athletics, basketball, hockey, netball, martial arts and every other Olympic sport and more, such as dance groups. Each of these clubs will have one or more teams for each age group; some will have boys’ and girls’ teams in each age group. In short, there are thousands and thousands of sports clubs where children can get involved in sport.

Grassroots clubs allow children to try new activities; get involved with their friends and their communities; and gives them access to sporting facilities and, therefore, opportunities that many would not be able to afford without these clubs. The people who volunteer at these clubs are often kind, dedicated and trustworthy people who give up their own free time to help children. They play an invaluable role in our society and this should not be forgotten.

Unfortunately, all organisations that involve children are at risk of being infiltrated by people who wish to sexually abuse children and grassroots sports clubs are not exempt from that.

In adult sport, many people who play one sport or another will understand the camaraderie and sense of bond you have with your teammates, which not only includes the players but also the managers and coaches. In some sports or clubs, such as athletics or dance, a coach and an athlete or dancer will work together on an individual basis and will spend a lot of time with each other, both during training and at matches or competitions.

They will share the highs and lows of the athlete’s or dancer’s career with each other and, as a result, will often develop a strong bond. The fact that there have been a number of well-known top athletes and dancers who have developed relationships with their coaches would appear to suggest this is not an uncommon occurrence.

Historic sexual abuse compensation

Compensation may be possible where child abuse has taken place at a sports club, the abuse need not have occurred on the clubs premises to qualify for compensation. Even if the abuse occurred at the abuser’s house on a week night, or perhaps in their car on the way to a training session or a match, provided the child came to know the abuser through the club and that the abuser used their position in the club to gain access to, and abuse, the child, it is possible to claim compensation for child abuse.

A claim for compensation can be made against the individual abuser alone, although, in reality, this will only be likely if the abuser has sufficient assets to cover the cost of the compensation claim. Many abusers will not have this money and so a claimant must look elsewhere. Where it’s not possible to recover compensation from the abuser directly we can pursue the club or organisation. The claim will be made on a vicarious liability basis, meaning that the club will be liable to pay compensation for the abusive acts of the employee or volunteer.

Alternatively, or in addition to a vicarious liability claim, in some cases it is possible to claim against the club on the basis that it was negligent in it’s duty to protect the children in its care. Although a claim can be made against the club, in reality, there is likely to be an insurance policy in place that will pay compensation on behalf of the club. Much the same as a policy that would pay compensation in the event of an injury to someone using the club’s facilities.

No win no fee solicitors

We deal with all of our sports club abuse cases on a no win no fee basis, which means we won’t ask you for a penny. We only get paid if a claim is successful and, even then, our legal costs are paid by the defendant organisation.

If you’ve been a victim of sports club abuse we can help you get the compensation and support you deserve, call our team of experts now by calling online enquiry form.

David Durkin-Finch

Partner

David has been part of the Cleversons team from the start. He's assisted hundreds of clients and takes great pride in all his work.

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