Cricket

England players given sexual consent training in light of Alex Hepburn conviction

Every professional cricketer in England and Wales has taken part in a sexual consent workshop over the past year, after the ECB gave additional funding to the Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA) towards its personal development and welfare programme.

England’s men’s and women’s squads, every first-class county, and all six Kia Super League teams received training led by LimeCulture, a leading sexual violence training organisation over the course of 2019.

The classes follow the conviction of Alex Hepburn, the former Worcestershire allrounder, earlier this year. Hepburn was handed a five-year prison sentence after being found guilty of raping a sleeping woman in his team-mate’s bed in 2017, following a trial in which the jury heard from the prosecution that Hepburn had been part of a “sexual conquest competition” in a WhatsApp group chat that included Joe Clarke and Tom Kohler-Cadmore.

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Both Clarke and Kohler-Cadmore were cleared to continue playing for their counties, but were handed backdated four-match bans by the Cricket Disciplinary Commission, and neither was considered for England or England Lions selection last summer. While neither player was accused of any criminal wrongdoing, the ECB were concerned by the content and tone of their messages, and the PCA said the Hepburn case provided a “stark reminder to all PCA members of all requirements and behaviours demanded of a professional cricketer”.

The workshops saw players divided into groups, in which they discussed the importance of sexual consent, starting with a pilot for the England Lions squad at the end of 2018 and concluding with a session for the England women’s squad before their ongoing series against Pakistan in Malaysia.

“It’s such an important topic to be educated on,” said left-arm spinner Kirstie Gordon, “so it’s really good that they’re giving these workshops to all professional cricketers, male and female, in the country.”

“If you see something going on that potentially has consequences, I think as a senior player in the group that I would certainly be willing to confront that, whatever it was at the time, but I need to know the information before I do that, and now I do,” said Eoin Morgan, England’s white-ball captain.

The PCA plans to expand consent training to include online modules, mirroring their current offering of recreational drugs and anti-corruption tutorials.

Ian Thomas, the PCA’s director of development and welfare, said: “We’re delighted to have been able to provide these sessions, and the feedback from our members has been hugely positive for what is a very emotional and delicate issue.

“These players operate at the pinnacle of our sport and are watched by millions of people week in, week out. It is therefore crucial that they have the required knowledge to continue to provide a good example for the general public, and young people in particular, in the way they conduct themselves.”

Article source: http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/story/1209728.html?CMP=OTC-RSS

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