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AFL club joins scheme to compensate victims of abuse

The St Kilda Football Club has formally joined the national redress scheme set up to compensate victims of child sex abuse.

The AFL club's move came amid revelations its Little League team was host to paedophile coaches in the 1960s and 70s.

More than a dozen former players revealed they were sexually abused by coaches in a 2021 ABC investigation.

Victims of institutional child sexual abuse can claim monetary compensation and psychological counselling provided the abuse occurred at an institution involved with the redress scheme.

Former Saints star Rod Owen told the ABC he was sexually molested by then Little League coach Darrell Ray and manager Albert Briggs.

Ray's brother-in-law and child sex offender Gary Mitchell was also involved at the club, driving boys to and from games.

A precursor to Auskick, the Little League was conceived by the VFL in 1967 to promote junior participation.

Matt Finnis, Saints CEO at the time, apologised to Owen and other victims in a club statement in 2021.

"Hearing how these incidents plagued Rod's childhood was distressing. That he has carried this terrible burden for so long is heartbreaking," Finnis said.

"Junior football, and children's activities more broadly, should be a safe place of fun and enjoyment. No child should have to endure what Rod experienced and to hear that this abuse took place under the St Kilda name is shattering."

The scheme was established in 2018 following the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The Saints are the only premier men's league club of any sports code to have opted into the scheme.

The AFL joined the scheme in 2021 with CEO Gillon McLachlan encouraging victims of abuse to come forward.

St Kilda declined to comment on Tuesday, beyond confirming its participation in the scheme.

The Department of Social Services was also contacted for comment.