Abuse compensation due to negligence of sporting associations

Abuse compensation due to negligence of sporting associations

Updated March 2024

Like many institutions (sporting, scouts, churches, schools, hospitals, aged-care etc), the prevalence of physical, psychological and sexual abuse, both historical and current, is becoming more exposed in recent years. Abuse compensation claims are on the rise, and abuse survivors’ rights and ability to make a claim have improved significantly, particularly with the abolition of time limits in 2018. In this blog, we specifically look at abuse compensation as a result of the negligence of sporting institutions.

In the realm of sports, the recent revelation surrounding Perth Wildcat Kendal “Tiny” Pinder exposes the unsettling reality of sporting “heroes”. Pinder’s on-court success overshadowed his off-court predatory actions, and now, former Wildcat’s owner, Bob Williams, faces a groundbreaking civil action for failing to protect young fans from Pinder’s predatory actions.

A recent article by ABC News exposes Pinder’s double life – a celebrated athlete on the court and a dangerous sexual predator off it. Sarah*, a historical abuse survivor, has stepped forward unveiling the trauma she endured as a young fan.

This blog explores the negligence within sporting institutions, exemplified by the case of Pinder, and the subsequent legal pursuit of the team’s former owner, Bob Williams, for complicity in knowingly allowing abuse to persist in the pursuit of athletic success. Sarah is exploring a civil claim against Williams, seeking historical abuse compensation due to her experience as a vulnerable teenager at the hands of Pinder.

Kendal “Tiny” Pinder’s sexual abuse – summary of the ABC article

In 1988, a chance encounter turned into a nightmare for Sarah when Pinder, exploiting his fame, sexually assaulted her after offering her a ride home. Sarah was only 15 years old at the time. After the initial incident, Pinder continued to groom and sexually abuse Sarah.

During Pinder’s career at Wildcats, he faced charges related to the assault of another 15-year-old girl, and later, he attempted sexual assault of a 17-year-old girl.

Pinder’s criminal record includes convictions for sexually assaulting both a 20-year-old woman and a 16-year-old girl. Despite facing serious assault charges, Pinder continued to be associated with professional basketball teams, including the Wildcats and the Illawarra Hawks, who signed him as he got out of jail for one of these charges.

In March 2024, Pinder was sentenced to eight years in jail after pleading guilty to sexual intercourse without consent and aggravated sexual assault.

Negligence of Wildcat’s former owner – knowledge of sexual abuse

Negligence in a legal context involves a breach of duty where an individual or entity fails to act with reasonable care, resulting in harm to others.

Former Wildcat’s owner, Bill Williams, admitted to being aware of Pinder’s predatory behaviour. William’s awareness of Pinder’s misconduct and subsequent failure to address it can be seen as a breach of the duty to ensure the safety and well-being of those associated with the team.

This case against Williams seeks to hold him accountable for his complicity in allowing a known predator to maintain contact with fans and his negligence in not preventing further harm, including sexual abuse.

Accountability of sporting organisations

This case highlights the significance of holding sporting institutes accountable in safeguarding their fans from abuse. Negligence by team owners or management in addressing known risks within their ranks can lead to legal consequences, particularly if such negligence contributes to further harm.

This case will serve as a precedent for survivors seeking justice, indicating that those in positions of authority within sporting organisations can be held responsible for their failure to protect fans from known risks.

The long-lasting trauma of abuse

The long-lasting effects of abuse, such as the traumatic experiences endured by survivors like Sarah, extend far beyond the immediate incident. Survivors like Sarah often grapple with enduring trauma, impacting their mental health, relationships, and overall well-being.

Hall Payne Lawyers recognize the gravity of these struggles and is committed to providing compassionate legal support. Our experienced lawyers understand the complexities of these cases and can assist survivors in navigating the legal process, including entitlements to seek abuse compensation, with sensitivity and care.

Compensation for abuse survivors

For survivors seeking justice, various schemes and avenues are available to address the financial and emotional toll of abuse. To learn more about the compensation schemes in Australia, visit our earlier blog, “Achieving the best compensation for survivors of childhood abuse”.


The case against Bob Williams (as owner of the Perth Wildcats at the time of the abuse) emphasizes the importance of holding entities (like sporting clubs, scouts, churches, schools etc) accountable for negligence in addressing misconduct.

It encourages survivors to seek legal resources when organisations prioritise success over safety. The case becomes a crucial call for systemic change within sports organisations (and other institutions), emphasizing the need to prioritise morals and safety to prevent further harm and empower survivors on their path to healing and justice.

Get help from an abuse lawyer

Our Abuse Law team understands that for an abuse survivor, discussing the particular circumstances will be difficult, however, we believe it is important for survivors to know their rights and entitlements.

At Hall Payne, we use a trauma-informed approach to work with you through this difficult journey. We listen carefully to your story and help you understand your options, and we can also work with your support network, including family, health professionals and counsellors, to ensure you are supported at all times.

*ABC has chosen not to publish Sarah’s real name in order to protect her identity. Hall Payne Lawyers have used the same alias in this blog.

Contacting Hall Payne Lawyers

You can contact us by phone or email to arrange your consultation; either face-to-face at one of our offices, by telephone or by videoconference consultation.

Phone: 1800 659 114
Email: general@hallpayne.com.au

  This article relates to Australian law; either at a State or Federal level.

The information contained on this site is for general guidance only. No person should act or refrain from acting on the basis of such information. Appropriate professional advice should be sought based upon your particular circumstances. For further information, please do not hesitate to contact Hall Payne Lawyers.

Previous Blog Post Next Blog Post