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Cycling faces up to issue of abuse

In his latest blog on abuse in sport, Dino Nocivelli looks at measures being taken to address the issue in cycling.

Posted on 15 February 2023

I have written about abuse in numerous other sports, ranging from swimming to athletics and from football to cricket.  The latest sport that I want to consider is cycling.

Sir Bradley Wiggins is a cyclist who won the Tour de France, the Giro d'Italia, five Olympic gold medals and numerous other events over his career. 

Aside from his sporting success however, Wiggins has recently disclosed that he suffered childhood sexual abuse by a cycling coach when he was between 13 and 16 years old.

Wiggins later named his abuser as the late Stan Knight.

Men often face barriers to disclose the abuse they suffered and this is especially true within sport as there is a fear that others will consider you to be weak, a concern that Wiggins says he shared.

Other cyclists allegedly had suspicions about this abusive coach but did not report the abuse to the police and to stop the abuse from happening or from helping his potential victims. This is another example sadly of why mandatory reporting could be such a helpful tool to help stop and to act on child abuse, as recommended by IICSA and currently a draft Bill by Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson.

Wiggins is supporting the Listen Up, Speak Up campaign that has been launched by the NSPCC and is intended to give adults the information they need to sport signs of abuse and importantly how to act on them. This is crucial in my view as for far too long the burden has been placed solely on children to report. I think this is not fair on abuse survivors, instead it is important that everyone takes responsibility to stop abuse.

British Cycling has also commissioned a helpline through the NSPCC which provides free and independent support and advice to those who have concerns about abuse in cycling. This step by British Cycling is to be welcomed and I hope that anyone who has suffered abuse in cycling or has concerns about abuse in cycling feel able to contact the helpline. 

This blog was updated on 9 May, 2023.

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Dino Nocivelli

Dino is an experienced child sexual abuse claims lawyer

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