Child Sexual Abuse at Cricket Australia
Whilst the population have been raving about their team ahead of the World Cup 2022, some desperately concerning news hit the shores of the country. The mood has shifted from chirpy excitement to bitter disappointment in the nation with the news of Ian King, the former coaching staff for Cricket Australia receiving a further three-year jail sentence for his sexual crimes against minors.
Cricket is heralded as the national sport of Australia. Fans travel all around the world to watch the best players compete at the highest level. With the exception of Pakistan or India, cricket is seen as one of the most important aspects of being Australian, to the point where Aaron Finch and Pat Cummins are the second most important individuals in the country, falling behind only the current Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese.
Who is Ian King?
Ian King is a former professional first-class Australian cricketer, one of the first of a handful of indigenous people to play for the national side when he made eight first-class matches and one List-A professional cricket match for Australia between 1969 and 1970.
Whilst Ian King’s professional playing career had only lasted a single year he soon moved into a new role within the cricketing world. Ian King took the decision to transition into a coaching role for the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). Cricket ACT as the peak governing body for all forms of cricket in the ACT and region aims to provide excellence and innovation in all the programs they deliver.
What was his crime?
One member of the Under 19’s Australian cricket team, whilst playing under the guidance of King, was sexually molested by members of the squad. The experience and memories have remained with them throughout their childhood and continue to affect their daily life today.
The Chair of Cricket Australia, Lachlan Henderson issued an apology on behalf of Cricket Australia as well as Cricket ACT. He commented that child abuse is “appalling” and that whilst they “can’t change what happened, we need to do what we can to assist victims”.
“On behalf of Cricket Australia, I want to apologise to anyone who has suffered sexual abuse while involved in Australian Cricket.”
Who is to blame for Child Sexual Abuse at Cricket Australia?
Whilst the responsibility for the institutional child sexual abuse is confined solely to Ian King himself, that does not allow Cricket Australia nor the ACT Cricket Association to wash their hands of the affair.
During a more recent inquiry into the investigation of the victims, it was found that a 13-year-old member of the elite ACT junior squad had filed a police report back in 2006. Looking back at the evidence given at the time of the inquiry, a police statement was found pertaining to a member of the coaching staff at Cricket ACT.
ABC Sport reports that in the statement Ray Hatch, a colleague of Ian King and fellow coach had understood that there were rumours circulating about Ian King. He stated that “Within this first year, rumours were circulating the Association that Ian liked little boys.”
Cricket ACT had confirmed that these rumours had begun circulating from the cricket community in Western Australia and that the result of such rumours was to keep a keen eye on Ian’s activity with young children. Hatch told police that as far as he and the other coaching staff were aware, King was fine and there were no incidents.
Jodie Harris, the lawyer who represents the child sexual abuse victim of Ian King, cited that Cricket Australia and ACT had “failed to protect the boys on a number of fronts”. The most apparent misplacement of trust was in the company’s failure to produce accurate background checks. It was known that King had already had previous offences, including engaging in positions being in contact with children that ranged from private coaching to house visits.
Cricket Australia and ACT
Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockley said that at the time of the investigation, “I think what is clear is that it’s Cricket ACT’s responsibility”. Whilst he admitted that CA would work closely with the other members of the cricket community, the responsibility ultimately lies with ACT.
In December 2021, in response to the ABC Sports investigation, Cricket Australia committed to join the National Redress Scheme, which enables victims and survivors of institutional child sexual abuse to claim compensation for their traumas without having to go through the legal action process. Whilst this was an encouraging first step, compensation remains capped at only $150,000, and any institution that hadn’t joined the Redress Scheme was unable to have an NRS claim laid upon them.
One such institution was Cricket ACT which, although it applied to join the National Redress Scheme in 2020, got rejected as it was found that it could not compensate victims sufficiently. With so much money thrown into the world of cricket, both by Cricket Australia and privately, it becomes shocking to reveal that they couldn’t afford to join the National Redress Scheme.
According to Cricket ACT’s annual report from 2020-21, Cricket Australia had provided Cricket ACT with $2.2 million in addition to the government grants of $557,000. One would assume that their pockets are full, and it brings into question where the money is going.
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