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Childhood abuse ‘still so raw’ – Alex Scott

BBC Sport presenter Alex Scott says she was the victim of domestic abuse during her childhood (Bradley Collyer/PA)
BBC Sport presenter Alex Scott says she was the victim of domestic abuse during her childhood (Bradley Collyer/PA)

Former England defender and BBC broadcaster Alex Scott has spoken about the domestic abuse she suffered during her childhood, saying she can “visualise it like it was yesterday”.

Scott describes her father’s violent behaviour towards her and her mother in her autobiography, and says she wishes she had spoken about it sooner.

Her father, Tony, denied claims that he bullied and abused his daughter on Monday in a Daily Mail interview, insisting that he was strict – but not violent.

Responding on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, Scott said she had chosen to write about her father’s behaviour because she wanted to help “free my mum”.

The 37-year-old Football Focus presenter said: “I almost feel angry at myself that I’m allowing him to hurt me again by those claims of lying.

“This book, the reason was to get some peace. And I suppose when you are in peace it gives you a new position of power and that’s maybe why he’s trying to (respond) right now.”

In her autobiography, How (Not) to Be Strong, Scott details hearing her father being violent towards her mother while she and her brother were in bed in their flat in east London.

She wrote: “All I could do was lie there and pray my mum would be alive in the morning.”

On Radio 4, she said: “(My mum) doesn’t know that her two kids are in the room hearing everything.

“She’s trying to be strong in a totally different way, we’re trying to be strong for her but can’t help her. The visuals are still so there. I couldn’t do anything.

“It’s all still so raw. I can visualise it like it was yesterday. Even when my dad left that environment, we never communicated or you don’t speak about it. That pain and the struggles still continue.”

England v Portugal – UEFA Women’s Euro 2017 – Group D – Koning Willem II Stadion
Alex Scott had a celebrated playing career with Arsenal and England (Mike Egerton/PA)

In his newspaper interview, Scott’s father said: “Perhaps she is judging me by today’s standards, I don’t know.

“Parents were a lot tougher back then. But I was never violent, that’s just not me. I never beat Alex or anyone else in the family or did anything like that.”

Scott, in response, added: “If you are saying being beaten with a belt is just being strict – I can take that, I really don’t care about me.

“What I do care is about my mum and the fear and terror that she had to live in and the fact I was never able to help her in that.

“I feel sorry right now that I’ve not used my voice sooner to help my mum or any other woman that is in this position.

“But what he has done – he lit a new fire in me yesterday.”

“What I will do is do all I can to help women in this position so they don’t have the feelings that my mum has carried her whole life – or that I have.”

Scott has pledged that all the proceeds of her book will go to help women affected by domestic abuse.