Nowhere to Run: Charlie Webster's call to action to make a sports clubs a safe space - Women's Running

Nowhere to Run: Charlie Webster’s call to action to make a sports clubs a safe space

Author: Kate Sellers

Read Time:   |  September 21, 2021

Charlie is calling for immediate action following the airing of her documentary, Nowhere to Run, which detailed her experiences of sexual assault at a running club when she was 15

For many people, exercise is a form of wellbeing; a space where they can escape life’s stressors for a while and enjoy moving their bodies.

Sadly, that’s not always the case. Earlier in the year we investigated how many women feel unsafe while running as part of our We Will campaign, and the results were shocking.

Yesterday, the BBC aired Nowhere to Run, a documentary by broadcaster and keen sportswoman Charlie Webster about the sexual abuse she experienced at her running club when she was 15.

It’s a challenging but necessary watch that forces us to realise how prevalent this kind of behaviour is, especially in an environment where a a leader or coach has the trust of young women.

Following the documentary, Charlie has set out her call for immediate action, in the hopes of preventing the abuse of children in sport, and instead making the places where we exercise a safe space for all to enjoy and benefit from.

“The DBS system is too complex, with unacceptable loopholes that mean even those who have been barred from working with children are able to take up position in sports clubs,” says Charlie. “This is then further complicated by different systems in the different UK nations.”

She has suggested a three-step plan, which has been backed by the NSPCC:

  1. The creation of a central register / database / licensing scheme for coaches across all sports, as well as information sharing protocols between organisations.
  2. The governments of the UK must undertake a review of the criminal record and intelligence checking system.
  3. A resource for young people empowering them to understand what good coaching is, what abusive behaviour in a sports setting looks like, giving them a place to read survivor stories and to voice any concerns that they may have.

She’s calling on a number of organisations to help make these changes, including Sport England, British Athletics and the Ministry of Justice.

We wholeheartedly support her campaign, and will continue to share updates as it progresses.

If you’d like to watch the documentary,  it’s available to stream on BBC iPlayer. And if you need any advice on or support with the issues covered in the documentary or this article, the BBC have shared where help is available – find it here.

Written by

Kate Sellers

Kate Sellers

Kate is our Senior Digital Executive and a keen runner. She's also a qualified Personal Trainer and yoga teacher, so she knows her stuff about workouts, cross-training and stretching. She loves to combine running and exploring, so you'll often find her testing out the latest kit in exciting locations across the UK and beyond. Kate champions exercising for enjoyment. "Most of the year, you'll find me running for fun and wellbeing," she says. "That being said, I do still love the thrill of training for a race from time to time!"

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