City MP urges authorities to 'pro-actively' seek out victims of child sex abuse in football

Clive Betts MP
Clive Betts MP
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A Sheffield MP has urged government ministers to make sure the authorities are pro-actively contacting football's victims of child sex abuse  - rather than waiting for victims to call a dedicated hotline

Clive Betts, Labour MP for Sheffield South East, made the comments in the House of Commons as ministers discussed claims of child sexual abuse in football clubs. Ministers have met with police forces, sports bodies and the NSPCC to discuss the scandal, Sports Secretary Karen Bradley said. She said it was crucial police had the time to fully investigate all allegations of child sexual abuse in football so parents and children could regain their confidence in the game. Mr Betts said: "I am sure we are all appalled at the allegations of the horrific abuse that has come out which have besmirched the game that many of us loved so much, in recent weeks. "We are aware of the helpline which is available for people to phone up and relay what happened to them. "Has the secretary of state had conversations now with the football authorities about what more can be done pro-actively to identify those people who were involved with the abusers in the past, had contact with them, and actually assist them in every way to come forward with a very difficult decision to relate what happened to them?" Ms Bradley said she had spoken to the FA, Premier League, the English Football League and the Professional Footballers' Association "to make sure that we are identifying those people who may have been victims and have not yet had the confidence to come forward". Ms Bradley was questioned about the scandal during culture and sport questions in the Commons. The Government is assessing responses to a public consultation on whether to introduce a new obligation of mandatory reporting which would force those who work with children to report concerns about abuse to the authorities.Meanwhile, it has been revealed that the NSPCC's dedicated hotline for those affected by historic sexual abuse in football has received more than 1,700 calls in three weeks.