Scottish FA urges football child abuse victims to speak out
A number of former players in England revealed they were victims of sexual assaults by coaches.
The Scottish FA has backed a campaign to encourage victims of abuse in football to speak out the wake of recent revelations.
A number of former players in England have revealed they were victims of sexual abuse by coaches when they were youngsters.
The NSPCC has set up a dedicated helpline, with support of the English FA, for anyone who has been sexually assaulted as a child in football.
On Friday, Scottish football's governing body said it is hopeful the recent revelations should "gives others the courage to come forward".
Donna Martin, the Scottish FA's child well-being and protection manager, told the association's website: "We fully appreciate and recognise how difficult it is for people who suffer abuse to speak out.
"Whether this be the first time they talk about it to someone, or have already received help and support to overcome the lifelong impact of abuse, we would encourage people to come forward.
"They don't need to do it publicly and everything can be managed in a very confidential way.
"However by having the courage to do this, it allows us to challenge the behaviours and take action to prevent other children and young people being harmed and abused."
More former players have come forward with revelations after Andy Woodward became the first to speak out publicly last week about the abuse he allegedly suffered at the hands of Barry Bennell.
The former coach sexually abused young boys across three decades from the 1970s onward.
Bennell, who worked for Crewe, Manchester City, Stoke and several junior teams in north-west England and the Midlands, was given a four-year sentence for raping a British boy on a football tour of Florida in 1994 and then a nine-year sentence for 23 offences against six boys in England in 1998.
That year, in an unconnected case, former manager of Celtic boys club James Torbet was jailed for 30 months for sexually abusing three former young players including Alan Brazil.
Ms Martin said the Scottish FA has "safeguarding steps" in place when they recruit staff or volunteers, which includes "background checks on individuals before placing them in a responsible position with young players."
The governing body also highlighted training it provides staff in relation to working with children in football.
She added: "We are ever-mindful of the threat, which is why our policies, procedures and practices are essential in ensuring vigilance and understanding.
"It has been long understood the difficulty that victims face in coming forward and the courage of the players in England speaking out and sharing their experience must be recognised."
The Scottish FA is encouraging anyone who has experienced abuse or inappropriate behaviour in the game, whether historic or current, to get in touch directly through their dedicated NSPCC hotline on 0800 023 2642 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.