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01st Dec 2016

Some 350 victims have reported child sexual abuse within football clubs

Police forces have received a "significant" number of calls.

Simon Lloyd

Around 350 victims have come forward to report child sexual abuse within British football clubs, according to the National Police Chiefs’ Council.

The alarmingly high number comes as a result of information given by police forces from across the country and referrals from the NSPCC helpline.

According to the NPCC, police forces have received a “significant” number of calls, either to offer information or to report further allegations. Their lead for child protection, Chief Constable Simon Bailey, explained that information was still being gathered on the matter and that the current figures were only indicative.

“We are working closely with the Football Association to ensure that the response to this significant and growing number of victims, at all levels of football, is co-ordinated effectively,” he said.

“We continue to encourage those who have been the victim of child sexual abuse to report it, regardless of how long ago the abuse may have taken place.

“We will listen and treat all reports sensitively and seriously. Anyone with any information regarding child sexual abuse is also urged to come forward.”

“When allegations are reported it enables police to assess whether there are current safeguarding risks and to ensure that appropriate action is taken to prevent children being abused today.”

As many as 16 of the country’s police forces are understood to be currently investigating allegations of historical child sex abuse within football, and the NSPCC has said that it has received more than 860 calls to a helpline since it was launched on November 23.

The hotline is available 24 hours a day and can be reached on 0800 023 2642.