The recent figures released by the police showing that 639 referrals have been received by Operation Hydrant from the NSPCC helpline and directly from police forces about those who have been abused and that 83 potential suspects have been identified and 98 football clubs have been impacted come as no surprise but with great sadness.
Said Keith Best Chief Executive “One of the most difficult things for a survivor to do is to tell of the experience and it is only when they see others coming forward and being believed that they feel able to do so. Many who have been abused in childhood wait for decades before feeling able to share with anyone what happened to them. This is the wall of silence that must be broken down because often the damage to the individual of waiting for so long can cause enormous harm in terms of post-traumatic stress disorder, mental health issues, self-harm, dependency on drugs/alcohol and disruption to their work and personal lives. Apart from the often appalling impact on the individual this has great cost to society.
“We have seen in other circumstances where people have been abused in institutions or by individuals that the disclosure by some can lead to many more coming forward. Reasons of fear of disbelief, ridicule, senses of shame and guilt can all prevent them from telling of their experience. An eloquent and moving explanation has been given recently by an MP. The bravery of those coming forward should be commended.
“But what happens afterwards? There is a woeful lack of emotional support and long-term counselling available for adult male survivors, as has been pointed out recently to the Mayor of London and in the recent figures on the diminution of the public mental health budget.
“Football clubs and other institutions in which abuse has taken place must not only show regret but also compassion by making available the long-term care that is needed by those who come forward. SurvivorsUK has thirty years’ experience of specialising in care for adult men who have been abused which we do through our 7/7 webchat, information and advice on our website as well as counselling face-to-face, online and by telephone. We urge the Football Association and football clubs to take these issues seriously.”
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For any comment, quotes or opinion pieces please contact:
Keith Best – Chief Executive
M: 07785 323200