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Bob Higgins Football Coach Abuse: Survivors ‘Must Get Access To Best Possible Support’

Former Southampton And Peterborough United Youth Coach Jailed For Sexual Offences

14.06.2019

Andrew Hewitt, Press Officer | 0114 274 4255

Every effort must be made to ensure that individuals who suffered historical abuse at the hands of Bob Higgins are able to access the support they require, say specialist lawyers at Irwin Mitchell.

Higgins, 66, was this week sentenced to 24 years and three months in jail after being found guilty at a retrial of 45 counts of indecent assault which took place during a period from the early 1970s to the mid-1990s.

It is thought that he assaulted at least 24 victims, many of whom were young trainees at both Southampton and Peterborough United when the incidents took place.

Concerns finally emerged following the launch of a NSPCC helpline related to the issue of abuse within the football world. The case comes after other high-profile convictions including former coach Barry Bennell being sentenced to 30 years for a number of sexual offences in February 2018.

Irwin Mitchell’s specialist abuse lawyers have vast experience of providing advice and support to people affected by such issues, helping them access counselling and other forms of support. The firm is supporting a number of people abused by Barry Bennell, among others.

Sallie Booth, a legal expert who specialises in supporting survivors of abuse, spoke out after Higgins was jailed.

Expert Opinion
“This is a truly terrible case and, sadly, is yet another in which a person in a position of trust and power has cynically taken advantage of that responsibility. In many cases, the impact is not just emotional and physical, but it has also robbed victims of what would have been very successful careers in football.

“While nothing will ever change what the survivors have been through, news of his conviction is very welcome and yet another sign of just how seriously the authorities are treating cases of this nature.

“The fundamental priority now has to be to ensure that those affected by this abuse are able to access the ongoing support and counselling they require as they attempt to come to terms with their experience.

“It can take huge courage for abuse survivors to speak out, but we would urge anyone affected by similar issues to not be afraid to come forward. People affected by such issues deserve to have their voices heard.”
Sallie Booth, Partner

Find out more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in supporting survivors of abuse