21 July 2021 | Comment | Article by Alan Collins
Yesterday, a Premier League football player was arrested on suspicion of child sex offences and the player’s club has confirmed the 31-year-old has also been suspended. More on this story here.
This morning former Rochdale AFC Goalkeeper, Jonathan Dibawas in the news. The ex-footballer was found guilty of over 11 charges which include sexually abusing and raping young girls and a woman. The full story can be read here.
Once again, the sport is overshadowed by shocking headlines of sexual abuse. It is important to recognise despite the high level of media attention sexual abuse in football has had over the last few years, this sadly continues to hit the headlines.
Football is no different to any other walk of life because child sex abuse can happen anywhere The focus must be on safeguarding and individuals feeling supported to disclose concerns/abuse to prevent these terrible crimes continuing and going undetected.
We know from the many clients we have represented and further cases which have been disclosed in the media, how children with their hearts devoted to football were deeply let down in the worst way possible through being taken advantage of by coaches and managers for their own sexual gratification for decades. It is therefore deeply disappointing that football hits the headlines again now, but this time in relation to two players who no doubt have accrued a stream of young supportive fans who will have looked up to them.
Football like other sports lends itself to a particular vulnerability. It attracts great passion and unsurprisingly, unwavering attraction. With that, young people are impressionable and eager to please those in a position of trust. Amid charisma, passion and egos there is the risk that reality is lost and there will be a minority who see an opportunity to exploit children or adults.
We must be open about the risks of sexual abuse in sport. A clear focus must be on continuing to raise awareness and putting in place adequate safeguarding measures.
If you have experienced sexual abuse as a result of your involvement in sport, you may want justice, compensation, or simply an apology. You may also want further advice and support whether the abuse suffered was by an individual or sports organisation.
If you have been a victim of abuse, please get in touch for a free initial consultation.
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If you would like more information, please visit our Abuse in Sport page.
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