Football sex abuse victims have already claimed that the scandal could be bigger than that involving Jimmy Savile. And now the situation is continuing to escalate with 13 police forces confirming they are investigating allegations of historical child sex abuse.
A string of former footballers have come forward to say they were the victims of sex abuse at the hands of youth team coaches.
The latest forces to confirm they are looking into alleged crimes are Avon and Somerset, Essex and Norfolk Police. That brings to total number of forces with teams probing allegations up to 14. North Yorkshire, Dorset, Staffordshire, Greater Manchester, North Wales, Cambridgeshire, Hampshire, Cheshire, Northumbria, Scotland Yard and Police Scotland have also announced investigations. Football’s governing body, the Football Association (FA) has said it is launching its own internal review, which may lead to a fuller inquiry.
Across the Britain, officers say that some 250 reports of historical child sex abuse have been received. Meanwhile, charity the NSPCC has taken 50 calls to a hotline it set up especially for victims of this latest sex abuse scandal.
Avon and Somerset Police said that a number of people had come forward following extensive media coverage about historic abuse. The force said there would be a thorough investigation of all allegations.
Meanwhile, Essex Police urged anyone who had been a victim to come forward in the knowledge that they would be taken seriously, no matter how many years ago the abuse happened.
More than 20 former players have spoken out about their ordeals in the media, including some who have chosen to waive their right to lifelong anonymity in a bid to encourage others to come forward.
The former Newcastle United football Derek Bell said he had been assaulted during the seventies. He said that he was so traumatised by what happened to him that, when he saw his abuser again two decades later, he decided he was going to kill him. He went to his house with a 12-inch knife, but did not return when his abuser was not in.