This website uses cookies for anonymised analytics and for account authentication. See our privacy and cookies policies for more information.

The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

NSPCC launches hotline for footballers who were sexual abused by coaches

This news post is over 7 years old

The helpline received a staggering 50 calls in the first two hours of being open

A dedicated helpline has been set up for people who were sexually abused as children by their football coaches.

The NSPCC launched the helpline in the wake of three former professional players in England speaking out this week about the abuse they suffered as young footballers.

Andy Woodward, Steve Walters and Paul Stewart have been praised for their bravery but there are fears the trio may only be the tip of the iceberg.

Within two hours of going live NSPCC said it received 50 calls.

The charity recognises the problem is not one specific to England and the helpline has been made UK wide. It was set up with the support of the Scottish as well as the English Football Association.

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

All 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 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.

Matt Forde, NSPCC Scotland national head of service, 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 Scottish FA’s commitment to help those in the game get the support they need.”

Donna Martin, Scottish FA child wellbeing and protection manager, said: “The safety and wellbeing of children is of paramount importance to the Scottish FA, and significant steps have been taken to ensure that their protection is integral to Scottish football’s decision-making processes.

“The Scottish FA takes its role as the governing body of the national game seriously. We would urge anyone with any information relating to abuse or inappropriate behaviour – whether current or historic – to get in touch via the NSPCC’s helpline, or [email protected]."

Scotland has had its share of former players speaking out about being sexually abused while making their way in the game as a youngster.

The most high profile case north of the border saw Celtic Boys Club founder Jim Torbett convicted in 1998 of acts of shameless indecency with three young players between October 1967 and March 1974.

More recently, in July 2016, Robert Smith, 67, from Maryhill, Glasgow was convicted of sexually abusing three young boys who played for the football team he was coaching and managing in Glasgow’s Easterhouse area between 1978 and 1987.