Mairi Gougeon has welcomed investigations into historical sexual abuse in Scottish football and says victims should expect an apology.
Ms Gougeon’s comments come following the release of the Scottish Football Association’s final independent report into non-recent sexual abuse in Scottish football.
The 192-page report, released last week, included testimonies from 33 individuals about sexual abuse faced between the 1970s and early 1990s.
The minister for public health, sport and wellbeing said: “We support the work of the police and prosecutors in investigating allegations to bring those perpetrators to justice.
“We would encourage anyone who has experienced sexual abuse to come forward, if they feel comfortable in doing that, to access the help available to them.
“This report provides appalling and harrowing testimonies of historical sexual abuse. I absolutely commend the bravery of all the individuals who came forward to tell their story.”
Victims can ‘expect’ an apology
The first of 97 recommendations made in the report states that each club and organisation concerned, as well as the SFA, should issue an apology to those who have been affected by the abuse.
It reads: “The Independent Review recommends that the clubs and organisations concerned, including the Scottish Football Association, issue an unequivocal and unreserved public apology to those who have been personally directly affected by sexual abuse in Scottish football.”
Last week SFA Chief Executive Ian Maxwell apologised to the victims on behalf of Scottish football.
Ms Gougeon said on Tuesday in parliament that the victims can “expect” an apology from organisations and clubs too.
“Any clubs where young people suffered abuse should apologise and apologise unreservedly.
“I think that’s the very least that individuals who were impacted by this and their families can expect.”
Ms Gougeon later added that both the government and the SFA will act on the recommendations urgently.
She said: “We will carefully, but with urgency, consider this report and continue to engage with the Scottish FA and other key partners to ensure that those findings are acted on.
“I believe it’s vitally important that these recommendations are implemented by the football authorities. I would say that I’m encouraged by the Scottish FA’s initial response to the report.”