1,700 Calls To Football Sex Abuse Hotline
15 December 2016, 05:27
The NSPCC's dedicated hotline for those affected by historic sexual abuse in football has received more than 1,700 calls in three weeks.
The confidential line was set up by the child protection charity and the Football Association a week after former player Andy Woodward told the Guardian about the abuse he suffered as a boy in Crewe's youth set-up.
Woodward's revelation prompted a huge response from victims with similar stories of non-recent abuse at clubs up and down the country. According to the latest police figures, 83 potential suspects have been identified at 98 clubs.
Those numbers look set to grow as the NSPCC helpline has taken more than 900 calls in the last fortnight alone, taking the total to 1,767 calls as of December 13.
NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless said: "It's clear that for far too long, hundreds of people who suffered abuse as youngsters in the game have not been able to speak up, but it is encouraging that so many are finally finding their voice in a climate today where they know they will be listened to and supported.
"What's important now is that those victims get that much-needed support, and that perpetrators are identified and brought to justice by police. Anyone can contact our hotline in confidence and we will get them the help they need.''
Earlier this week, the Metropolitan Police revealed it was looking at more than 106 claims of abuse related to 30 clubs, including four Premier League teams.
And the Scottish Football Association has followed the FA's lead in setting up an independent review of its response to historic sex abuse allegations.
The NSPCC football abuse helpline is available 24 hours a day on 0800 023 2642.