Survivor Support

Survivor Support Advocate

The Survivor Support Advocate (SSA) service provides free and confidential support to anyone who has experienced abuse while involved in football. The SSA role is filled by Ian Ackley, a survivor with lived experience of historic abuse in football and over 20 years' experience working with vulnerable and hard-to-reach groups.

Ian is the first survivor to lead such a service within the game. He aims to create a safe space for survivors that prioritises their wellbeing. 

The service was set up in 2019 as a joint venture between the PFA Charity and The FA to provide survivors a caring pathway of support. Help is available for survivors of any type of abuse and covers both non-recent and current abuse. 

The FA’s support of the service ensures survivors who are not current or former PFA members can also access the help they need. This includes coaches, referees, officials, volunteers and anyone else who might have been affected.

  • The SSA provides a wide range of support, including:
  • listening and emotional support from someone who can relate
  • a detailed knowledge of the criminal justice and civil systems
  • signposting wellbeing support such as therapy and counselling
  • sharing information about legal processes and specialist representation
  • preparing you for what to expect if you pursue a claim
  • advice about debt, benefits and housing
  • help with applications for further support via the PFA Charity and FA Benevolent Fund

To access this support, you must have reported your abuse to an official organisation such as the police, the NSPCC, The FA or the PFA. If you have yet to disclose your abuse, the SSA can support you through the reporting process. 

Any survivor who accesses the service will receive support from someone who 'gets it', and you won’t have to worry about having to explain yourself further. All information you share with the SSA is entirely confidential, unless you are at immediate risk of harm or highlight a potential safeguarding issue where children or vulnerable adults may be at risk.

We understand that coming forward is a significant step and hope that accessing this service can reduce the ongoing impact of your trauma.

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If you would benefit from SSA support, please get in touch: