This resource has been created to help sports organisations to positively and meaningfully engage with people who have lived experience of childhood sexual abuse.
The information is based on the podcast “Learning from lived experience of childhood sexual abuse” with Karen Leach. Karen Leach is a Sport England Advisory Panel and VOICE Ambassador and works on making sport safer. She claims that these types of panels help to develop safeguarding initiatives relying on the expertise of sports people with lived experience.
Five key areas are identified when working with people who experienced sexual abuse:
Awareness: It is important to show empathy and listen carefully to what the person is saying. You should keep in mind that every person experiences abuse differently and have different needs. It may be important for them to hear an apology from sport organization leadership.
Respect: You should respect the privacy of a person and agree on how the work will go on. If the person’s lived experience is to be appearing on public, talk with the person about the content that can be used. Offer payment for their collaboration and for sharing their story.
Planning: Plan ahead what you will ask from the person with lived experience of abuse, be it sharing their story or participating in training. Allow to take breaks between each step of work and consider organizing all the practicalities such as times, locations, fees, hotels etc.
Language: Consider discussing with the person which words and phrases to use when sharing their story. Some people may prefer one phrase over another, which should be taken into account when writing publications or when speaking to them. Do not forget that sometimes words chosen may offend the person, e.g. referring to abuse as a “story” may be associated with fictional stories.
Ongoing Care: Remember to keep in contact with them and offer support afterwards. You may want to share the drafts or outcomes and discuss future opportunities. Always acknowledge their contribution. Consider offering additional support even after the case is closed, e.g. if they need to speak with someone later.