If you have experienced physical, sexual or emotional abuse in football, you are not alone.
In November 2016, former Bury and Sheffield United footballer Andy Woodward bravely came forward to say he was sexually abused between the ages of 11 and 15 by former football coach and convicted paedophile, Barry Bennell. Since then, dozens more former child footballers have come forward to speak of the abuse they suffered at the hands of youth coaches with many beginning claims for compensation against the football clubs who failed in their duty of care.
With 20 years of experience behind us in these cases here at Farleys Solicitors, we are specialists in child abuse claims, and have a long history of helping survivors of sexual abuse to achieve closure and justice for what happened to them. We know that no matter how long ago the abuse occurred, it can be incredibly difficult to open up to a stranger about your experiences, so your comfort and safety is our utmost priority throughout, and we never share the details of your case with outside parties unless you expressly say that you’re ready for us to do so.
Football clubs are supposed to have a duty of care for the children who play for them and the law states that a club must provide a safe environment at all times. Any breaches in this can lead to a compensation claim being made against them, as is becoming the case following current events. These abuse claims can come in the form of physical abuse claims, sexual abuse claims, or emotional abuse claims.
Even if the abuse happened many years ago, a claim for historic child abuse in football can still be made. The effects of abuse during childhood never truly go away, but a successful resolution can bring the same sense of justice and closure as a criminal prosecution – which can be particularly important if the abuser in question as escaped criminal proceedings.
Both boys and girls can be sexually abused. Research by the National Crime Agency has found that boys are generally less likely to speak out about sexual abuse than girls, which can lead to self-blame, depression and suicidal thoughts well into adulthood. Today, growing numbers of prominent male footballers are coming forward with their experiences, with their bravery inspiring others to seek their own sense of closure.
However, at Farleys we recognise that countless survivors still face immense difficulties in opening up to others about the abuse they’ve endured, so we do everything we can to put our clients at ease – providing a safe, private setting to discuss their experiences.
The bravery of prominent figures making their experiences public has given courage to other survivors; a helpline set up by the NSPCC received more than fifty calls in its first hour alone. Despite this, it can still be difficult for those affected to feel ready to speak to someone, especially if their abusers have threatened them as children.
Here at Farleys Solicitors, we have a number of highly experienced, specialist abuse solicitors who have over 20 years’ experience successfully dealing with child abuse claims.
What are the time limits for making a claim about abuse in football?
Technically speaking, claims are supposed to be made before a child’s 21st birthday, or within 3 years of the date of the abuse. In practice though, there’s an implicit understanding that survivors face a number of significant obstacles to coming forward, and it can frequently be years or even decades before they feel ready to talk about their experiences. As a result, the deadline on this specific aspect of UK law is a lot more flexible than it is for other areas.
Survivors commonly experience one or several of the following:
If any of this sounds like something that you or someone you love has experienced – or may be currently experiencing – then you’re in the right place. Whenever you feel ready to open up about your experiences, we’ll be here to help you in your search for justice and closure.
However, although the deadlines can sometimes be relatively flexible for making a claim about abuse in football, it’s true that once the abuse comes to light, it’s best to start legal proceedings as soon as possible. This is because the sooner the case begins, the easier it is to
Will my confidentiality be protected?
Yes. We take your privacy very seriously here at Farleys, and we understand how important it is that you feel you can trust us with the details of your case. We keep everything confidential, and will keep all documents in connection with your case as strictly classified. If we need to contact any outside organisations, such as the social services or police, we’ll always ask your permission first. Equally, we can apply to the court for client anonymity on your behalf.
What is the process for making an abuse in football claim?
Our process for abuse claims in football can be classified into several key stages. Working progressively through these makes it easier for us to collect the relevant evidence we need for your claim, and assemble it into a solid case with the best chance of success.
These key stages are as follows:
We truly value and appreciate the feedback we receive from our clients, as we look to improve the services we offer on an ongoing basis