Australian FA investigates allegations of abuse in women’s game

Former international Lisa De Vanna speaks out in wake of Paul Riley controversy

Lisa De Vanna in action for  Melbourne Victory. The former Australia international’s allegations have prompted an investigation from the country’s FA. Photograph: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

Lisa De Vanna in action for Melbourne Victory. The former Australia international’s allegations have prompted an investigation from the country’s FA. Photograph: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

 

Football Australia say they will investigate any allegations of abuse in the women’s game after recently retired international striker Lisa De Vanna said she had been the victim of sexual assault, harassment and bullying during her career.

De Vanna made her initial allegations in response to a Tweet by Megan Rapinoe when the United States international commented on the allegations of misconduct against former North Carolina Courage head coach Paul Riley.

The 36-year-old De Vanna, who played 150 times for her country over two decades, replied that she had witnessed women in the game abusing younger female players, and organisations protecting the abusers.

“There needs to be consequences. There needs to be accountability,” she expanded in an interview with News Ltd media.

“I have seen cultural problems at all levels throughout the years - from men and women - and girls coming through need to be brave, and also the girls that have been through this also need to be brave and know they are not alone.

“Have I been sexually harassed? Yes. Have I been bullied? Yes. Ostracised? Yes. Have I seen things that have made me uncomfortable? Yes.”

Football Australia said they had met with De Vanna to discuss her “grievances” but that some of the specific allegations she made in the media had not been raised at the time.

“In the event that Lisa chooses to lodge a formal complaint through the appropriate channels we will in turn be in a position to investigate and, if appropriate, act accordingly,” the governing body said in a statement.

Another recently retired Australian professional, Rhali Dobson, told News Ltd that she had been the target of predatory behaviour from senior women players.

“The same process is open to Rhali Dobson and other former players and staff to formally bring forward any claims,” the FA statement added.

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