How Can Sport Organisations Support People Experiencing Domestic Abuse?

Rosalyn Porter, Director of Women and Girls Cricket at Oxford Cricket Club, and her daughters Genevieve and Eloise spoke to us about their experience of living with years of domestic abuse.

Rosalyn, Genevieve and Eloise’s Experience

They talk about their experience of living with years of domestic abuse. They discuss the positive role Cricket has played in all their lives. Yet they also describe how hard it was to recognise the situation they were in, and some of the barriers that prevented them accessing help.

This is a story of strength, resilience and love in the face of sustained coercive control and physical danger. It is a story that addresses difficult themes and some of the day-to-day realities of living with coercive control.

However, it is also a story of how some individuals were able to reach into their situation, to listen and provide much needed support. It is a story that is focused on this family’s desire to educate and change things for others in the future.

Listen below:

Safeguarding is Everyone’s Responsibility

The key lesson from this podcast is this: People working or taking part in sport can deepen their understanding of coercive control and take positive steps to support those who are experiencing domestic abuse.

In 2020, an estimated 1.6 Million (7.3%) women and 0.76 Million (3.5%) men in England and Wales experienced domestic abuse.

This is an important podcast for anyone who would like to better understand domestic abuse. It explores ways that sport might offer the right type of support to anyone in that situation.

How Can Sport Organisations Support People Experiencing Domestic Abuse

Throughout the talk, Rosalyn, Genevieve and Eloise all shared their thoughts on what sport organisations can do to support people experiencing domestic abuse, and what could have helped them. This included:

  • Have someone independent to speak to
    Fear that conversations will not be kept confidential, especially when the abuser is also involved or known to the organisation, can prevent people feeling they can speak out without risk to their safety.
  • Safeguarding training and education for safeguarding officers
    This is essential for appropriate and effective handling of safeguarding concerns. Safeguarding officers should know how to handle concerns and who they can speak to. For example, club safeguarding officers knowing that they can get guidance from safeguarding officers at county level.
  • Make sure coaches know their role in safeguarding
    Encouraging coaches to engage with their role in safeguarding and feel comfortable in raising even the slightest concern or worry, knowing that it will be handled appropriately.
  • Raise awareness in the organisation
    Taking steps to let everyone know that they have a role in keeping an eye out for each other, and what they should do if they do have a concern. Stickers in car parks, posters and notices in the loos are all ways you can ensure people have access to the information they need.
  • Introduce your Safeguarding Officer
    Using opportunities for the safeguarding officer to introduce themselves can help them feel more approachable. Events where large groups, especially mixed age-groups get together can be a good opportunity to do this.
  • Recognise how sport organisations fit into family dynamics
    Remember that domestic abuse such a coercive control might not look the same at a sports club as it does at home or in other settings. In some cases, an abusive family member might see the club as a ‘safe’ place and allow their family to attend, while being controlling over other settings.

If you are interested in developing tools to help sport and activity organisations support those at risk of domestic abuse please get in touch.

Domestic Abuse Helplines

If you need more information or help and support to address a domestic abuse or coercive control situation:

National Domestic Abuse Help Line

0808 2000 247
BSL National Domestic Abuse Helpline
National Domestic Abuse Website (with text/chatline)

Live Fear Free Helpline  (English/Cymraig)

0808 80 10 800
Live Fear Free Website

Safer Lives

Safer Lives Website


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