NSPCC launches football hotline for sexual abuse victims
- Dedicated helpline launched with support of Football Association of Wales as more footballers speak up about sexual abuse in the game
- NSPCC urges players and others to come forward as Childline figures show that across the UK boys are five times less likely to speak up about sexual abuse
Following a series of shocking revelations this week about sexual abuse in English football, the NSPCC has launched a dedicated hotline for victims of abuse across the UK which is being supported by the Football Association of Wales (FAW).
The launch of the free, independent helpline number on Thursday (24 November) follows former professional footballers Andy Woodward, Steve Walters and Paul Stewart speaking up this week about the abuse they suffered as young footballers in England.
NSPCC figures show that across the UK boys are over five times less likely to speak up about sexual abuse than girls. In 2015/16 Childline conducted 1,193 counselling sessions with boys about sexual abuse, compared with 6,486 girls. Of these, 149 were conducted with girls contacting the service from Wales with just 13 being held with boys.
The NSPCC and FAW are now urging players and others involved in football from grassroots to the professional game to speak up using the NSPCC football hotline.
Staffed by independent, experienced NSPCC professionals, the helpline will offer support and guidance for victims of childhood sexual abuse within the game.
The hotline will be available 24 hours a day on 0800 023 2642.
Head of NSPCC Cymru/ Wales Des Mannion said:
“There must be no hiding place for sexual abuse in football and many adults may have suffered such horrors as young players but have never come forward.
“As this week’s revelations have shown, people must be able to speak out and get the help they need and we know that can often be more difficult for men and boys.
“We welcome the FAW’s commitment to helping those in the game get the help and support they need.”
Sian Jones, Safeguarding & Player Welfare Manager at the Football Association of Wales, said: “The courage shown by those who have come forward thus far is incredible and we would encourage victims, survivors and anyone with concerns, current or historical, to use the NSPCC helpline and come forward for advice, guidance and support.”
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