Child Abuse in Tennis Clubs

Child Abuse in Tennis

Bob Hewitt, winner of numerous Grand Slam Doubles Tournaments, including Wimbledon, was found guilty of two counts of rape and one of sexual assault and was handed down a 6 year prison sentence.

The sexual abuse scandal that has recently enveloped football is likely to spread to other sports, as victims are encouraged by the bravery of others to speak out.  One sport that is no stranger to child abuse is tennis.  In 2007 a female tennis coach was jailed for two years and nine months for sexually abusing a school girl.  Tragically, it is likely that there are many more current and former tennis players who have been abused but have so far suffered in silence. 

An illustration of a tennis coach abusing his position of trust, is that of Daniel Sanders, who in 2017 was jailed for 6 years.   A subsequent enquiry found that the Lawn Tennis Association missed repeated warnings about bullying and sexual abuse at the Wrexham Tennis Centre. The report found that staff at the tennis centre failed to properly address “complaints made about the behaviour of coaches”, including Daniel Sanders. An investigation in 2012 was found to be “insufficient” and “serious concerns raised by parents and coaches” were not addressed.

The team at IBB Law deal with child abuse compensation claims are highly- trained, highly-specialised and highly-experienced.  We have helped empower hundreds of victims of abuse that has occurred in sports clubs, including tennis.  We help them find a voice to challenge the people and organisations who failed to protect them and allowed a sexual predator access to them.

Victims of sexual abuse often lead lives of quiet torment, unable to hold down jobs or relationships due to the scars and shame they carry.  We have the expertise and sensitivity required to help those who have suffered abuse in a tennis club obtain the compensation they deserve so they can start rebuilding their lives.

How can we help?

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How do I prove my tennis club failed to protect me from sexual abuse as a child?

If you were the victim of abuse whilst playing tennis club or other organisation as a child, you need to show, on the balance of probabilities that your abuser was able to hurt you because:

  1. The organisation or club owed you a duty of care to protect you from sexual abuse;
  2. They breached this duty; and
  3. This breach of duty resulted in you becoming a victim of abuse.

By failing to spot the signs of abuse or heed warnings of former victims or colleagues of the abuser, tennis clubs can sometimes expose their vulnerable young players to sexual predators.  These men and women are experts at gaining the trust, not only of their child victim, but their parents as well.  This process is known as grooming. 

If this has happened to you then you have a right to claim for compensation as your tennis club failed to protect you from harm.

How do I make a claim?

By instructing a lawyer who is experienced in claims of child abuse which has occurred in sports clubs, you can begin the process of obtaining justice against those who should have protected you.  At IBB Law, we provide victims of sexual abuse in tennis clubs with the support, advice, and representation they need to make a robust compensation claim.

Is there a time limit on making claims for sexual abuse that occurred at a tennis club?

There are generally no time limits for prosecuting abusers; however, there are time limits imposed for making a compensation claim. Usually, victims have three years from the time the abuse took place, or from the time of their 18th birthday to bring a civil claim for compensation. However, due to the sensitive nature of sexual abuse compensation claims, these times limits often do not apply. The court has the discretion to extend timetables, meaning compensation claims for historic abuse which occurred in tennis clubs can be heard many years down the track.

What is the process of making a claim?

Our personal injury team will arrange an initial consultation to discuss the circumstances of your case. We will refrain from asking any specific details about your case at this time until we have earned your trust and you are fully ready.

We will then recommend you report allegations of the abuse to the authorities as this will need to be done to ensure the success of the claim.

We will then support you in getting medical reports detailing any physical and mental signs and effects of abuse.  Following this, your legal team will prepare a file containing records and dates of the abuse, including names and details of the individual and the organisation that employed them.  

Once an investigation is completed and all the evidence is gathered, we will then contact the tennis club in question, notifying them that we are claiming compensation for abuse on your behalf.  They can either choose to accept the allegations and settle the claim or defend them.  If the latter occurs, we will immediately file court proceedings.

How long with the process take?

It depends on the complexity of your case and how many other victims there are.  We recommend that you refrain from contacting other people who say they have been abused as it may jeopardise your case.

Our child abuse solicitors thoroughly investigate every allegation to ensure the maximum amount of compensation can be obtained.  Although it may take some time to settle your claim, you can be confident that we are protecting your best interests and fighting for the most favourable result.

Will I have to go to court?

We understand the trauma attending court can cause the victim of sexual, physical, or emotional abuse, especially if you have never spoken about the incident until now.  It is important to note that a majority of cases are settled outside of court through mediation and/or negotiation.

If you do have to attend court, we will instruct an experienced barrister who will advocate for you.  We will also ensure that you understand the process and answer any questions or concerns you may have.  We understand the courage it would have taken to come this far and you can be confident that we will not let you down.

How much will it cost to make a claim?

At IBB Law we provide ‘conditional fee arrangements’, otherwise known as ‘no win, no fee’.  This means that if your claim is unsuccessful, you will not have to pay any legal fees to our solicitors.

By entering into a ‘no win, no fee’ agreement with you, we are taking on the risk by paying for expert witnesses and document disclosure etc. upfront.  We would not take this chance if we did not believe your case had a strong chance of success.

You can further protect yourself by taking out After the Event insurance to cover the other side’s costs if the court orders that you must pay them.  This is something that we can organise for you.

By instructing IBB Law to manage your compensation claim for abuse occurring whilst you participated in tennis as a child, you can be confident that you have the best possible chance of success.  We will expertly guide you through the process, providing you and your family with support as and when you require it.

If early settlement is not possible, you can be assured that we will robustly fight your claim in court, protecting your interests and obtaining the compensation you deserve.

No child should suffer abuse when participating in a sport they love.  Let us support you and get you the compensation you need to rebuild your life.

If you would like further information on making a compensation claim for child abuse which occurred in a tennis club, please call our office on 0333 123 9099 to make an appointment with one of our team.

  • Malcolm Underhill
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  • Simon Pimlott
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  • Jacqueline Almond
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  • Neelam Chauhan
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  • Nerys Dadey
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  • Rachel Green
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Meet the team
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