sexual violence - barry bennell

Cheshire sexual violence services say they are ready to support victims whose memories are triggered by a BBC three-part series “Football’s Darkest Secret”.

The series is based on abuse suffered by young footballers which came to light when former Crewe Alexandra player Andy Woodward spoke out in 2016 about being abused by Barry Bennell while at the South Cheshire club.

Woodward waived his right to anonymity, and his powerful accounts of suffering opened the floodgates for many more former players to speak out about abuse that wen on in 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

More than 800 victims have since come forward with 340 clubs implicated and 300 suspects identified.

The BBC series is due to be aired from Monday March 22.

Cheshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) David Keane and child sexual abuse support services across Cheshire have issued a statement ahead of the series.

Child sexual abuse is when someone is forced, pressured, or tricked into taking part in any kind of sexual activity with another person.

It is reported 1 in 20 children in the UK have been sexually abused and over a third of all police-recorded sexual offences are against children.

Mr Keane said: “We hope that this BBC series will help raise awareness of child sexual abuse and the support available to survivors.

“Across Cheshire we have several dedicated services available to victims of sexual violence providing specialist support and guidance.

“Whether it has happened recently or some time ago, you can still access these services.

“We understand that watching or hearing stories like this documentary can trigger memories for survivors and therefore urge anyone effected by the series to seek the appropriate help.”

If you or someone you know is a victim of child sexual abuse, whether it happened recently or in the past, you can call the police on 101.

You can also pass on information anonymously, via Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111. In an emergency always dial 999.

If you do not wish to report the incident to the police, you can self-refer to a local sexual violence provider for advice and support.

* Historical sexual abuse and support for anyone who is a victim of child sexual abuse, contact Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre (Cheshire and Merseyside) on 0330 363 0063.
* Advice and support for victims of sexual abuse contact Cheshire CARES on 01606 36 6336 or email [email protected]
* For support for survivors of historical sexual abuse, including support for their family members and other professionals, contact Chester Sexual Abuse Support Service on 01244 307 499 or go to
* Cheshire Without Abuse (CWA) provides – My CWA, for support with experiences of domestic abuse, or to get help for your own harmful behaviours in relation to your relationships

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