Sue Ravenlaw updates us on safeguarding, as well as backing Purple Summer campaign

Friday 15 Jun 2018
Wear a purple item on Friday 15 June to back the Purple Summer campaign

Friday 15 June marks Purple Summer, a campaign raising awareness of sexual abuse in football by encouraging people to wear a purple item of clothing.

Started by David Lean, a victim of sexual abuse in football, whose public disclosed his experiences in 2016 which led to an increase in awareness of the scale of the problem.

  • Friday 15 June 2018
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And the FA’s head of safeguarding Sue Ravenlaw has backed the Purple Summer campaign as well as updating on wider campaigning work in the safeguarding arena.

“We know from Operation Hydrant that while it’s generally former professional players who have come forward and waived their anonymity in the public domain, the majority of survivors were abused in amateur football settings,” she said.

“Andy Woodward’s brave disclosure at end of November last year had a ripple effect throughout the game and through our work with Sporting Chance, we’ve since ensured that there is a therapeutic support service available for any of the survivors who want it, to access it locally to them and across the country.

“Some of the former players who’ve waived their anonymity, are actively involved in raising awareness about abuse and seeking to encourage others who may be suffering in silence to speak out.

“This includes people like Andy, with his recent trip to Brazil having huge ripple effects in raising awareness, Colin Harris, via the Voices project and those involved with SAVE and the Offside Trust.

“We recently featured a piece with Colin Harris talking about the Voices Project and how this has supported his healing journey.

“Here, we’re signposting the significant efforts of David Lean with his Purple Summer campaign, encouraging people to wear something purple on 15 June, with the intention of raising awareness and inspiring conversations about child abuse.”

Lean takes up his story and provides the background to Friday’s campaign.

“After my public disclosure in 2016, I had 13 people contact me in 48 hours who had experienced similar things in their own lives,” he revealed.

“It blew my mind. You think you’re alone, but this showed me this isn’t the case.

“I began to realise the scale of this problem. And that I wanted to do something to help address it.

“Sexual abuse is just one form of child abuse and something people don’t want to talk about, and I get that. But it is an unspoken truth. The numbers are alarming. One in five children are abused in some way before they are 18.

The FA's Sue Ravenlaw has backed the Purple Summer campaign

“So, raising awareness became something important to me. I know there’s pockets of great work being done by groups and individuals, including many volunteers which is to be applauded.

“I wanted to do something to bring everyone together in unity with something simple, easy, inclusive and free.

“Social media became the obvious medium in which to do this. After debuting the campaign last year, it took over my life but in a good way.

“This year we will again run the campaign twice. I have timed the first to fall just before the school holidays, and the next in December, just before the festive period kicks in.

“My message to anyone, who wants to get involved, is wear purple, from a hair bobble to a bangle, a t-shirt to a dress. That starts conversations off about why we’re wearing it, and opens up a really important discussion about this sensitive and difficult topic.

“Purple is special colour; it’s associated to healing and has an historic link to protest and togetherness. And Purple Summer has one objective; to raise awareness of child abuse in whatever form it comes in.”

#PurpleSummer will be held on Friday 15 June, with #PurpleChristmas running on Friday 7 December.

By FA Staff