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15 Dec 2016

Personal Injury

Football Child Sexual Abuse Scandal and its Implication for Society

Recent revelations by hundreds of former footballers that they have been victims to being sexually abused is both worrying and disturbing.  Aside from the country’s pension crisis and the lack of adequate care for both the elderly and mental patients, this is the biggest single issue facing the country today.

So What is Sexual Abuse?

A child is sexually abused when they are forced or persuaded to take part in sexual activities.  This does not have to be physical contact, it can happen ‘on-line’.

In the case of the recent football scandal, many ex-players are alleging that they were abused sexually whilst playing for their individual club’s youth team.  The Football Association are under pressure to act although in a recent poll conducted by Sky News, 57% of the people questioned doubted if the Football Association would be able to conduct a proper enquiry.

There are currently 18 police forces throughout the country involved with the on-going scandal.  Many clubs face the prospect of being pursued through the courts for compensation and face potential bankruptcy.

In the case of one prominent Premier League club, it is alleged that the club has used insurance policies as ‘hush money’ to compensate victims and to stop the victim from speaking out about their ordeals.  Within the last 3 years the unnamed club paid a former player compensation for the abuse that allegedly occurred in the 1970s with the understanding that he would not damage the club’s reputation by breaking the confidentiality clause.

Our national game is in crisis, however, the scandal is likely to have far reaching implications for society generally.

Since the Savile affair and a number of high profile cases recently involving the likes of Stuart Hall, a former BBC commentator, and Rolf Harris, the well known entertainer, more and more people have opened up to a subject that, for years, individuals had to deal with on their own.  It has generally been regarded as a ‘taboo’ subject.  However, the scandal in football may be the tip of the iceberg.  Who is to say that this is not happening in other sports or in other countries.

Parents up and down the country may think twice before sending their sons and daughters to a leisure pass time.  It is not just football that is at stake here.  Many young boys and girls throughout the country regularly go to activities such as Brownies, Guides, Cubs, Scouts, dance and drama classes.  The list is potentially endless.  In a recent poll conducted by Sky 37% of parents are less likely to take their children to football clubs in the wake of this scandal.  Parents will ask whether they can trust the person or persons responsible for undertaking the activities in question.

We know today that various professions such as teachers have to undergo annual checks to ensure that they have clean records and can be trusted to be with children.  This may well be extended to all activities generally where children are involved.

So what is the advice to anyone who has been the victim of sexual abuse?  There are help-lines available which people can ring and also they can also approach the NCPCC.  Do not suffer in silence.  It is never too late to come forward and you may be entitled to compensation.

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