Sexual abuse is sports is a common and far reaching problem in the Netherlands, according to an investigation by a committee led by Klaas de Vries. Twelve percent of athletes experienced sexual transgressive behavior in their sports club as a child, Four percent faced sexual assault or rape, NOS reports.
Reports of sexual abuse in the Dutch sports world are often not adequately handled, concludes a research report by Bureau Beke and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Information about sexual abuse is often left untouched at clubs, federations and the person of trust point of the NOC*NSF, which means that perpetrators walk free for longer than necessary. The sports world also rarely call in the police, according to the report, the Volkskrant reports.
Football club PSV in Eindhoven is calling on all professional clubs in the Netherlands to open their own helpline where players and former players can report sexual abuse. Clubs need to do more to help the victims, PSV director Toon Gerbrands said to the Volkskrant.
Another two former football players reported being sexually abused at their football clubs when they were children. One was abused as a youth player for Sparta Rotterdam in the 90s, the other at FC Eindhoven in the 70s, they told the Volkskrant. Both clubs contacted the victims and call for other victims to come forward.
During the general meeting of Olympic Committee NOC*NSF on Monday, Klaas de Vries emphatically urged members to cooperate in his investigation into sexual harassment and abuse in sports. The former PvdA minister officially launched his investigation on Tuesday and hopes to have a report on his findings ready by December, ANP reports.
Another two former youth players at football club PSV came forward to report that they were sexually abused while playing for the club, the Volkskrant reports.
One victim was abused in the 70s - his coach took him to the dressing room after a training and forced him to go sit in the bath, where the coach molested him. The boy went home in tears, but refused to tell his parents what happened. "I insisted that nothing happened. I was ashamed and scared that the coach would get mad at me and take me off the team." he told the Volksrkant.
Two former football players at PSV and Vitesse reported to the professional football organizations that they were sexually abused while playing at the Dutch clubs in their youths. This is the first time that victims of sexual abuse in Dutch professional clubs are coming forward, according to NU.nl.
Former Minister Klaas de Vries will head a three member committee that will investigate sexual abuse in sports. Dutch Olympic Committee and sports organization NOC*NSF deliberately chose the PvdA man because he is not part of the sports world in any way and will therefore not have any conflict of interest, sources told the Volkskrant.
Managers of sports clubs should be legally required to report any signs of sexual abuse to a national body, two Dutch professors said to the Volkskrant. If they fail to do so, they should be subject to disciplinary proceedings, according to the professors.
Professors Marjan Olfers and Peter Vogelzang of the Institute for Sports Law believe that the only way to effectively address sexual abuse in sports clubs, is to make sure that perpetrators are registered centrally and shared with other clubs. This should be coupled with a Safety Board for Sports.
Last year Dutch sports federation NOC*NSF received 215 reports of sexual abuse from athletes. "Every case of sexual abuse is one too many", Minister Edith Schippers of Sports said about the figure, RTL Nieuws reports.
Athletes can report any form of unacceptable behavior, such as abuse of power, doping, bribery and sexual abuse, at the NOC*NSF contact point. Last year there were 269 reports, 80 percent of which involved sexual abuse.
Sports federation NOC*NSF wants to launch a major investigation into sexual abuse in the sports world that will focus on the past 30 years, the Volkskrant reported on Friday. The aim is to find out whether there are abuse victims in the Netherlands that never came forward.
"It is important for sports to be familiar with its own history", NOC*NSF CEO Gerard Dielessen said to the Volkskrant. According to him, sexual abuse victims carry a massive burden. He believes this investigation can support abused athletes who want to come forward with their story.