Children have been sexually abused – including by other children – during “initiation rituals” within British sport, the industry’s most senior child protection officer has revealed.
In a horrifying twist on the paedophile scandal that has rocked football and other sports, Anne Tiivas, the head of the Child Protection in Sport Unit, confirmed there had been such “incidents”, some of which had even been sanctioned by adults and overlooked by parents.
She said governing bodies had taken action to stamp out sexually-abusive initiation ceremonies, which she claimed had often been accepted as the norm previously.
“There was a lot of acceptance of behaviours in sport you would never tolerate in a school,” added Tiivas, who has run the CPSU – a partnership between the NSPCC, Sport England, Sport Northern Ireland and Sport Wales – since 2008.
“We would have people ringing up from sports saying, ‘We just had this dreadful initiation ceremony, where these children have been sexually abused by their peers as part of the initiation’. And, actually, high-profile, well-connected parents have managed to persuade police that, for instance, ‘This is just part of the culture of sport and what you have to do to get involved. And it’s just a bit of fun’.
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