Following a high volume of cases in recent years, investigations have been made into abusive practices within the gymnastics community.
Concerns have been raised by a number of elite athletes who have complained of training under a ‘culture of fear’.
At present, a legal claim has been raised by 37 former gymnasts, who were victims of systemic physical and psychological abuse.
An Independent Review was launched last year, finding abusive practices such as training on injuries, body shaming, bullying, shouting and weight shaming.
Mike Darcey, British Gymnastics chairman, has said that the organisation ‘must do better’ to ensure that there is no further abuse in the sport and has apologised for letting the community down.
He has proposed fresh appointments to the British Gymnastics executive board, with a view to new members having a focus on safeguarding and integrity, athlete voice and broader representation.
Darcey welcomed the Whyte Review, which was commissioned by UK Sport and Sport England, aiming to provide recommendations for improvement and change. He said that he recognises the anger that has been felt across the community and that trust will only be earned with consistency of action over time.
The Review has come not long after investigations were made into ex-Olympian Stan Wild, who was barred from British Gymnastics in 2020.
Nikki O’Donnell said that she was sexually assaulted multiple times between the ages of 9 and 14 at Mr Wilde’s club in York. She complained in 2008 but no action was taken and Stan Wild was allowed to carry on coaching.
Unfortunately, this kind of abuse within sport is all too common. We often read of instructors, coaches and supervisors who are trusted by children and parents. However, involving a person in a position of authority, these relationships are open to abuse.
As one of the country’s leading abuse solicitors, Farleys has an unprecedented record in assisting survivors of sexual abuse in the sporting world. Survivors of abuse may be entitled to Criminal Injuries Compensation Award (CICA) and potentially be able to present a claim directly against the local authority or sporting institution.
In our pursuit for compensation for survivors, we will always consider the ways in which their experience has had an impact on their past and present, but also consider any future effects, both psychological and physical, to ensure valuable resources for survivors to enable them to move on with their lives.
If you, or someone you know has been affected by child sexual abuse, we are here to help. Call our abuse line on 0330 134 6430 to speak to a member of our dedicated team who will deal with your enquiry with the utmost confidentiality and integrity. If you would prefer, you can also contact us by email or through the online chat below.
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