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Police confirm they’ve received 28 reports of historical sex abuse in football since November

PUBLISHED: 12:05 18 May 2017 | UPDATED: 15:59 18 May 2017

Police

Police

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Victims are encouraged to come forward via the NSPCC helpline set up for this

Police have today confirmed that investigations into six reports of child abuse in Kent football are on-going.

A Kent Police spokesperson said: “Operation Hydrant launched the co-ordination service for reports of non-recent football-related child sexual abuse in November 2016.

“Since then, Kent Police has received 28 reports of child abuse in football. Fifteen of these reports concerned non-recent offences committed in Kent, of which six remain the subject of on-going investigation by another force.”

In November, a police spokesperson said: “Should victims come forward to us to report incidents that have taken place elsewhere in the country then we will support them appropriately, but the investigation of those offences would be carried out by the police forse that covers the area where the abuse is reported to have occurred.

“If there are victims in Kent that have not come forward we would encourage them to do so by calling the NSPCC helpline, set up especially for this, on 0800 023 2642, with the assurance that they will be treated sensitively and seriously.”

detective chief superintendent, Ivan Balhatchet, of the Met’s Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command, said: “Whilst the vast majority of the allegations relate to sexual abuse, some of them are physical abuse. Allegations are connected with individuals at 77 named clubs or teams across the nation. The breakdown of those clubs is: five in the Premier League, three against Championship clubs, three against clubs in Leagues One and Two, and 66 other named clubs which would include non-league or non-professional or amateur teams.

“The Met take all allegations seriously, and specialist officers will work through the information passed to them.

“We will not be giving a commentary as this investigation develops and are not discussing the names of the clubs involved, or number of allegations against each club.”

A statement from Kent Football Association, said: “Kent FA is currently working with the Independent Review into Child Sex Abuse Allegations in Football. Kent FA acknowledges its responsibility to safeguard the welfare of children and young people and is committed to working to provide a safe environment for all members.”

An NSPCC spokesperson said: “It’s clear that for far too long, too many 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.

“The NSPCC is calling for the most stringent DBS checks to cover more adults who work with children, and for extending position of trust laws – which do not currently apply to sports coaches or other youth leaders.”

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