Tory MSP calls for investigation into child abuse at sports clubs

Rachael Hamilton MSP. Picture: TSPL
Rachael Hamilton MSP. Picture: TSPL
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The Scottish Government has been urged by a Conservative MSP to launch a “focused investigation” into abuse of children in sports clubs.

It has been revealed a UK-wide hotline set up for sexual abuse victims in football received more than 250 reports since it was launched less than a week ago.

Mark McDonald, minister for early years, told MSPs it was too early to give an indication of how many calls were received in Scotland.

Tory MSP Rachael Hamilton said there have been pleas for the SNP administration to launch a wider inquiry covering areas such as sport as the sector is not included in the current historical abuse inquiry.

The Government has already faced criticism that the inquiry - looking into treatment of children who were in residential care, those who had long-term stays in hospital, boarding schools and those under foster care - is too narrow.

• READ MORE: FA appoints senior lawyer to review child sex abuse claims

“The current inquiry risks not going far enough in helping victims of child abuse,” Ms Hamilton said.

“I am disappointed that the Scottish Government is not going forward with an investigation into the abuse in sports clubs.”

Mr McDonald said: “We do take seriously any indications or reports of sexual abuse in sporting bodies and ... we will continue to monitor the number of calls that are made to the hotline and determine alongside other bodies whether any further action is required in this specific area.

“But that does not affect the remit of the historic abuse inquiry, which has been set by the Deputy First Minister.”

SNP MSP Christine Grahame insisted the Scottish Football Association should not have an investigatory role in any abuse allegations due to potential conflicts of interest.

The minister added: “Anyone who believes they were abused as a child involved in football or has a concern about someone they think was abused should contact police to investigate.”