Sexual abuse victims urge Club to sign up to national redress scheme

August 31, 2021
Emma Castle

The victims of former tennis coach and convicted sex offender, John Cattle, have spoken about their disappointment with Forrest Tennis Club, which risks losing its funding and status.

The club has to date failed to join the national redress scheme that allows victims of abuse to access government-funded compensation.  

The victims, who wish to remain anonymous, endured a lengthy criminal trial that resulted in the conviction.

In a joint statement, they said: “We are speaking out because Forrest Tennis Club, despite knowing that crimes were committed on their premises more than 30 years ago, and despite a criminal conviction of their contracted coach, has failed to demonstrate any accountability or responsibility.

“This abuse, which began 38 years ago and culminated in a two-year criminal trial, has taken a significant physical, emotional and financial toll on both of us.

“This failure is not only a disincentive to other victims of child sexual abuse. It also indicates a disturbing and prevailing culture within the club with respect to child protection,” said the women.

Forrest Tennis Club
Forrest Tennis Club

Victims of Crime Commissioner Heidi Yates said the club’s stance sent a “disturbing” message to families still involved with the club. 

Yates said Forrest Tennis Club should publicly acknowledge the abuse, implement child-safe measures and sign up for the redress scheme that was set up in response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

A Forrest Tennis Club (FTC) spokesman told the ABC that the club supported the rights of sexual and physical abuse victims and their right to fair compensation.

“Over the past six months, the FTC committee has engaged in good faith with officials from the national redress scheme to better understand the complex process and implications of signing up to the national redress scheme,” he said. 

“However, the committee was not in a position to sign up to the scheme before an NRS-imposed deadline, which led to the Club being publicly named.

“The club has not ruled out joining the scheme, and we will continue to engage constructively with the NRS.

“For legal reasons the club is not able to comment further publicly on this matter.”

In spite of these active negotiations, a failure to sign up to the redress scheme will likely see the club lose access to Commonwealth grant funding and will result in the club losing its charity status.


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