Bradshaw says Executive must put in place mechanisms to ensure historical sex abuse claims are investigated

Alliance MLA Paula Bradshaw has said the Executive must put in place the correct mechanisms to ensure historical child sex abuse claims can be reported, after the PSNI confirmed it was investigating allegations relating to local football clubs.

The South Belfast MLA quizzed the Communities Minister in the Assembly chamber yesterday (Monday) about the arrangements in place to ensure reporting of historical sex abuse allegations in sports clubs could be made within a Northern Ireland context.

However, police here have now confirmed they are looking at a “very small number of allegations of non-recent child sexual abuse linked to football clubs”. It is currently unknown which clubs are involved. To date, over 20 former footballers across the UK have come forward to allege they were abused.

“This is a rapidly developing situation at a national level but with the PSNI having now confirmed it is investigating allegations locally, it is time for the Communities Minister to work with the Justice Minister to provide confidential reporting channels and support for those who have been affected in the past,” said Ms Bradshaw.

“Unfortunately, the Minister has not been proactive in his approach to this matter and this appears to have only come onto his radar now, as it was clear in his response yesterday no mechanisms had been put in place to deal with allegations and the Minister would only be reactive if any claims came to light.

“It is vital those coming forward with allegations are given the proper help and support they need to receive the justice they deserve. The Minister needs to urgently put in place those means to help them do that.”

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