We have been following recent stories about widespread child abuse in English football clubs with concern, and also admiration for the men who have come forward. In our experience, as soon as one survivor comes forward, many other victims – of the same perpetrator, or of the same system – feel they can finally come forward too. This has been the pattern with the Catholic Church, Jimmy Savile, Jehovah’s Witnesses, care homes, boarding schools like Ampleforth, and many other places where child abusers have operated.
It’s not surprising that football has also attracted abusers. Youth teams can offer access to young boys who are made vulnerable thanks to inadequate safeguarding, and the need to win approval in order to progress their fledgling careers in a culture where pain is suffered in silence.
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