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Childhood sexual abuse in football

6 December 2016

Children playing football in a park

Hundreds of victims have recently reported childhood sexual abuse within UK football clubs, and police forces across the UK are investigating these allegations.

Victim Support is encouraging anyone else affected to seek help.

A dedicated NSPCC free helpline, supported by the Football Association, is offering support 24 hours a day to anyone who was sexually abused in football as a child. You can call the helpline on 0800 023 2642.

The NSPCC helpline’s trained staff will offer support and guidance for adults who were victims of childhood sexual abuse within football, at all levels from grassroots to Premier League. They will refer cases on to the police or other agencies as appropriate - such as if a child is in immediate danger.

If you choose to contact our charity, our specially trained staff and volunteers – who are based locally across England and Wales - will give you the emotional and practical help you need. You can find more information on our Get help page.

Lucy Hastings, Director at independent charity Victim Support, says: “Childhood sexual abuse can have a long lasting and devastating impact on people’s lives. Their experience may have been within football, or in totally different circumstances. Whatever and whenever it happened, it’s very important people know that help and support is available.

“We know from our work with survivors of this crime that there are many barriers which can stop people coming forward, such as fear of not being believed, or feeling shame and stigma about what’s happened. We don’t want anyone to suffer in silence any longer. 

“You don’t have to report what’s happened to the police to get help. Victim Support offers free and confidential help for as long as you need, regardless of how long ago a crime took place. Visit the Get help page on our website to find out the many ways we can help you move on with your life after crime.”

If you've experienced childhood abuse and are thinking about reporting it to the police, read the Victim Reporting Factsheet for answers to frequently asked questions and details on what to expect.

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