Women’s Aid statement on Adam Johnson case
Thursday 3rd March 2016
Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, said:
“The Adam Johnson case highlights the need for football clubs to have robust policies in place to respond to domestic, sexual and child abuse, and to understand issues around relationships and consent. When the public focus is on the impact on the player’s career rather than the impact on the victim, it sends out a dangerous message and can fuel victim-blaming, so it is essential that the club and relevant agencies are prepared and know how to respond appropriately.
“Domestic and sexual abuse is an issue for the whole of society to take seriously , and as footballers are public figures their actions not only impact the victim, but the many young people who look up to them. There is no statutory sex and relationship education in schools, so many young people do not know what a healthy relationship looks like. The influence of a high-profile footballer on impressionable young people must not be underestimated.
“Women’s Aid launched the Football United Against Domestic Violence campaign to raise awareness of abuse against women, and the sexist attitudes that can underpin this type of behaviour. We are working with a number of clubs and organisations, including the Premier League and the PFA, to develop guidance and training so that we can work towards developing a consistent response within football to these issues, so that perpetrators know that their abuse will be taken seriously. There will almost certainly be other cases like this that the football community will have to deal with in the future ; therefore, we are ensuring that they are equipped to act appropriately and understand the devastating, long-term impact that domestic and sexual abuse has on a survivor. In addition, we are helping clubs to educate players, staff and young people within their community about healthy relationships.”