Child abuse in football under the spotlight - The Solihull Observer

Child abuse in football under the spotlight

Solihull Editorial 17th Dec, 2016   0

WEST MIDLANDS Police are investigating allegations of child sexual abuse in football.

The force confirmed it was looking into four historical abuse cases following the shocking allegations which have rocked the football world.

In a statement the Police said: “We are now in the process of speaking to the complainants and providing support through our specialist team of officers.

“West Midlands Police takes all reports of sexual abuse extremely seriously and would urge anyone who thinks they may be a victim or witness to abuse to call us on 101.”

Birmingham-based sexual abuse charity Rape and Sexual Violence Project which provides support in Solihull has seen calls to its helpline rocket.

Sarah Lafford, Head of Business Development, said the charity has seen an 18 per cent increase in clients being referred to, or referring themselves to RSVP for advocacy and/or therapeutic services since Andy Woodward’s story was published in the Guardian on November 16.

She added: “Just over half of these new clients are survivors of childhood sex abuse.

“As the full scale of the abuse within youth football continues to unfold we do expect these figures to rise.

“One month after the announcement of the independent inquiry into child abuse in 2014 we experienced significant increases in requests for services, with a 47 per cent increase in requests for counselling and a 61 per cent increase in requests for advocacy support from child abuse survivors.

“RSVP’s services are here for anyone in Birmingham and Solihull who has been affected by sexual violence and abuse.

“Regardless of age or gender.

“Whether the abuse was recent or a long-time ago, there is a range of support available to you. Contact RSVP’s ISVA team (Independent Sexual Violence Advocacy)on 0121 643 0301 (option 3) or email [email protected] to discuss the various practical and therapeutic support services.”

The Birmingham County Football Association – the governing body on behalf of the FA for football played in the region – is also actively looking to support victims.

A spokesman said: “Across Birmingham FA region we are very proud of the safeguarding network in place, to ensure football is safe for young people to enjoy.

“Anyone who has experienced or is experiencing abuse in football, or who has concerns about children’s welfare, should contact the police or The FA directly, or utilise this specific NSPCC helpline – available 24 hours a day on 0800 023 2642 – to gain support and advice.”

“Trained staff will offer support, advice and guidance, and will refer cases on to the police or other agencies as appropriate, such as if a child is in immediate danger.”


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