South Wales Swimming Teacher Sentenced After “Campaign of Sexual Abuse”

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Robert Rixon of Porthcawl abused girls as young as 11 over a 16-year period at a swimming and lifeguarding club he ran at a local school. He’s now been sentenced to 25 years in prison after being charged with 29 counts of sexual assault.

Rixon was initially investigated in 2018 when one of the women he sexually abused as a child came forward and reported what had happened to her. The police were then able to identify four other women who had been subjected to similar abuse.

These women bravely revealed how Rixon would carry out sexual assaults against them in the pool and changing rooms, while they were only wearing their swimming costumes. The Court heard that there were in total 66 instances of sexual assault, one rape and two incidents where the victims were made to indecently touch Rixon over his clothing

Whilst we’re pleased that Rixon has now been sentenced and placed on the sex offenders register, we sympathise with the survivors of his abuse who were forced to relive their experiences at trial after Rixon initially pleaded not guilty.

In this article, we’ve looked at the impact Rixon’s abuse had on the women who came forward as well as what can be done if you have suffered a similar experience.

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What was the Impact of Rixon’s Abuse?

During Rixon’s trial, statements were read out from the women who he had assaulted as children. Although the statements varied, the common theme that emerged was the fear of not being believed.

This is unfortunately something we commonly see where abusers in positions of power use their status to manipulate a vulnerable person like a child to keep the abuse they’re suffering a secret.

One of the women said that although she knew at the time that it was wrong, she understandably felt “too scared to question an adult.” The Judge presiding over this case stated that Rixon would have been fully aware of the power dynamics at play and that he was actively “abusing his position of trust.”

What was also clear in all of the statements read out was the long-lasting trauma that each of the women affected had been subjected to. Some were pushed to thoughts of suicide and others had used drugs as an escape. Others said they felt unsafe around men and suffered from PTSD and panic attacks.

Many of the women who joined Rixon’s swimming and lifeguarding club as children had aspirations to become lifeguards themselves. But now the prospect of even going near a pool is daunting for them. One of the women described the “fear and panic” she still experiences in changing rooms and that the smell of chlorine alone is enough to trigger her anxiety.

I Suffered Sexual Abuse as a Child – What Can I Do?

Making the decision to take action after suffering abuse as a child can be difficult. But it could help to bring you a sense of closure and justice.

If you haven’t already, we would firstly encourage you to report what you went through to the police. They will talk you through the prosecution service before allowing you to have the final say on whether you’d like to proceed.

You also may be entitled to compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). CICA is a government body that was set up in 1965 to compensate the victims of violent crime, including sexual assault.

Whilst you don’t need to instruct a Solicitor to make a CICA claim, having a specialist solicitor experienced in abuse claims on your side can help to increase the chances of a successful outcome. We’ve represented clients in similar cases to the one described in this article and can help you navigate the process. For free and confidential initial advice, get in touch with our approachable Abuse Law team.

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