Dutch sport and athletics umbrella group NOC*NSF is to carry out a major investigation into possible sexual abuse within the Dutch sports sector, the Volkskrant said on Friday.
The investigation will focus on the past 30 years and aims to discover if there are ‘silent victims’ in the Netherlands who have never come forward.
‘Experience shows that people carry these events with them for years,’ spokesman Geert Slot told Radio 1. ‘We have been told it is important to give people the opportunity to talk about it, no matter how long ago it took place.’
The NOC*NSF has been prompted to launch the investigation after hundreds of footballers came forward in Britain to talk about being abused by trainers. And earlier this week, Dutch cyclist Petra de Bruin told Nieuwsuur she had been abused by her trainer for years.
The federation has a hotline to report sexual abuses and it does receive regular reports, Slot said. ‘The victims are helped and then given assistance if they want to make a formal complaint,’ he said.
According to Gerard Dielessen, director of the NOC*NSF, the hotline gets around 200 reports of problem behaviour a year, and this includes cases of sexual abuse. ‘Every report is one too many,’ he told broadcaster NOS.
The federation also has a blacklist of coaches, but there is just one name on it, the Volkskrant said.
It is still not compulsory for people working with children to have a declaration of good behaviour, or VOG, although an increasing number of sports clubs have made them a requirement.
In addition, a VOG is no guarantee that coaches have not been involved in sexual abuse or intimidation because many cases never get to court, the Volkskrant said.
In 2014, a hockey coach was able to film hundreds of young girls in the changing rooms for several years, despite having a conviction for exposing himself.
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