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Survivors demand release of Football Association inquiry into childhood sexual abuse

The Football Association launched an inquiry into childhood sexual abuse in December 2016 and this was as a result of Andy Woodward’s public disclosure of the abuse he suffered at the hands of football coach Barry Bennell at Crewe Alexandra Football Club.

Since Woodward’s disclosure, hundreds of other complainants of sexual abuse within football (and other sports) came forward and this resulted in numerous criminal convictions, not least Bennell being convicted of offences in 2018 and then again in 2020.

Disclosing childhood sexual abuse is a very difficult step to make and many often feel unable to do so because of the trauma associated with it, the fear of being judged by others and the concern that they will not be listened to or understood.

It has now been over 4 years since the inquiry started and yet there has still been no planned publication date or even an interim report.

This means that survivors are simply left waiting for the Football Association to publish their findings and it is only adding to the understandable stress that they feel around such a personal issue.  The longer the report is held up, the more concerns that survivors have about the truth ever being uncovered.  The anticipation means the longer their lives are placed on hold as they wait in anticipation for the report to be published and the impact this will have not only on their lives but also on their loved ones.  Survivors of abuse want to be able to finally move forward with their lives and the delayed publication of this report is not helping them to do so.

This is unfair on survivors who quite simply deserve better.  The time for talking has been and gone, now is the time for the Football Association to publish their Inquiry and to show what recommendations they are going to implement to try and prevent the significant amount of sexual abuse that took place (and may well still be taking place) in football for far too long.  As a society we must do everything within our power to prevent abuse and to support abuse survivors but sadly the Football Association’s lack of action is not helping the cause.

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