Tracey Crouch, the minister for sport, has penned a letter to 40 national governing bodies (NGBs) urging them to investigate historic allegations of sexual abuse and make sure their current process for safeguarding children is “as robust as possible”.
Over the past two weeks several high-profile allegations of sexual abuse within football have come to light, while almost 1,000 calls have been received by an NSPCC hotline created a week ago to deal with similar cases.
Around 350 people have also come forward to report child sex abuse in UK football.
The Football Association (FA) has launched an independent inquiry, and Crouch’s letter to Sport England-funded NGBs – including the Rugby Football Union (RFU), Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) and England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) – is clear that instances of child sex abuse should not be swept under the carpet.
Her letter urged NGBs to find out whether there were any historic allegations that would “merit investigation or reinvestigation”, if there were appropriate processes in place to deal with these allegations, and whether current process for safeguarding young people were good enough.
“I am sure you share my view that the sport sector needs to do everything it can to ensure that if proven allegations are found there is justice for the survivors of past abuse, and that sport today is as safe as it possibly can be,” said the MP for Chatham and Aylesford.
Crouch’s Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) was expected to publish a Duty of Care in Sport review in the autumn, but Sports Management
understands that the document is not likely to be published until after the New Year.
While the recent shocking allegations have not been the cause for the delay in publication, the subject is expected to make up part of the review, which is being overseen by Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson.
Earlier this week, Sport and Recreation Alliance chief executive Emma Boggis said that her organisation was in dialogue with sports bodies
bodies about child welfare in sport.