After a week of media headlines we are now beginning to receive the first enquiries from victims of football sex abuse. The NSPCC have reported unprecedented levels of enquiries to their helpline. Concern has been expressed in all quarters about the level of this scandal. From Victoria Derbyshire to the Professional Footballers Association there has been widespread concern about the number of people affected by childhood abuse within the football world.
The Claimants that I have spoken to are similar to other abuse victims. Their priority is not to claim damages for what they have been through. They want justice. They want the abusers dealt with. They want the people responsible for the abusers to be investigated. One of the common themes that I have found in acting for victims of Scout Leaders, Members of the Church, School Teachers and even the Rochdale Paedophile Ring is that they not only want to see the abusers brought to justice but also want to see the people who had control of those abusers investigated.
In Rochdale it was the Social Services and Police who should have prevented the abuse. In some of the cases involving School Teachers it is the Local Education Authority who should have done more to prevent the Teacher from abusing the children. The same applies in the Scout Groups where it is the Scout Association who are at fault.
With the football abuse scandal it is likely to be the Football Clubs and ultimately their Insurers who bear responsibility. Even if the Coach’s are only working in a voluntary role when the abuse takes place they are still likely to be receiving expenses from the Club and will ultimately be the responsibility of the Club.
These cases may raise some interesting points in relation to the legal concept of vicarious liability and the extent to which the Coach’s are being employed by the Clubs but in the vast majority of cases I suspect that the Insurers to the Clubs who employ these Coach’s will be responsible to compensate the victims for the terrible, lifelong effects of the abuse suffered.
Here at Farleys we are excellently placed to assist football abuse victims. We are experienced at dealing with the Press. We have a specialist Abuse Department run by two partners, Jonathan Bridge and Paul Corrigan, together with various trained staff who have dealt with many high profile abuse cases. We also have a specialist Sports Law Department that can assist with any ancillary matters arising from the claims. If you have been affected by sexual abuse as a result of involvement in football we would welcome hearing from you and any enquiries will be treated in the strictest confidence. Please call 0845 287 0939 or complete our online enquiry form.