New anonymous helpline set up for victims of historic abuse
Helpline was pushed forward after the recent allegations of abuse in youth football
A new helpline service has been set up in Scotland to support survivors of historical child abuse.
The helpline will run as a pilot project for one month.
The In Care Survivors Service Scotland (ICSSS), said it would give survivors a chance to anonymously and confidentially name the person or people who abused them.
Chief executive Janine Rennie said, “we see prevention as a crucial part of our work with survivors, and this helpline will enable a place for survivors to safely speak out”.
“Sexual abuse has been more in the media recently, but it has always been a significant issue in our communities. We need to find a way to expose the scale of abuse.”
The helpline, set up by Wellbeing Scotland, is for anyone who has suffered historic abuse, also known as non-recent abuse.
The NSPCC define historic abuse “an allegation of neglect, physical, sexual or emotional abuse made by or on behalf of someone who is now 18 years or over, relating to an incident which took place when the alleged victim was under 18 years old.”
The ICSSS website states the service is “a team of specially trained counsellors offering help specifically for survivors of historic in-care abuse under the national framework of advocacy, and counselling services, and to survivors of abuse who have also been in care.”
Experienced counselors will staff the helpline and callers will not be required to leave their details, with support offered by the charity if needed.
The charity said it recognised that many victims can still feel a profound effect from the abuse as an adult, so offer this service as a way for them to disclose their experiences without fears over confidentiality or fear of repercussions.
The organisation pushed forward the launch of the helpline, following a recent BBC documentary that revealed allegations of abuse in youth football.
In the programme, former players spoke of the abuse they suffered at the hands of former coaches.
Former members of the Celtic Boys Club came forward to claim that the founder, Jim Torbett, had sexually abused them in the 1980s and 1990s.
The investigation also revealed new claims about Gordon Neely, the former Hibernian and Rangers coach, who died in 2014.
The documentary also caused the Scottish Football Association to appeal for any abuse victims to contact them as a result of the allegations of sexual offences in football that came to light.
Police Scotland urge victims to come forward to report abuse they may previously have suffered.
Detective Chief Inspector Sarah Taylor, National Child Abuse Investigation Unit at Police Scotland, said “Child abuse is incredibly difficult for people to revisit and to talk about. Our officers are highly specialist and are trained to deal with all reports sensitively.”
“We would ask anyone who has been the victim of abuse, or has information about potential abuse to contact us. We will listen and we will investigate and our first priority will be to ensure that there are no children at risk now.”
The helpline can be accessed on 0800 121 6027 and the charities website can be visited at www.incaresurvivors.org.uk.