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It's never too late to report sexual abuse

Women And Men Against Child Abuse has urged all victims of sexual abuse to report their cases.

FILE: Former South African tennis star Bob Hewitt is facing new allegations of sexual abuse. Picture: AP

CAPE TOWN - Anti-gender violence group Women And Men Against Child Abuse has called on all victims of sexual abuse to report their cases regardless of how long ago it happened.

Its call comes after fresh allegations of rape have been levelled against former South African tennis star Bob Hewitt.

A teacher in the USA also now claims to have been raped by Hewitt in the 1970s when he recruited her as a 14-year-old tennis prodigy.

The now 74-year-old Hewitt is being sued by her for hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages in a civil case in the US almost 40 years after the alleged incident.

The group's Tania Otto says it is not always easy for children to come out with the truth.

"The general public is very quick to judge them. They ask why did you take so long and maybe these allegations are fabricated. But people really need to educate themselves on the long term effect of child abuse."

Otto says children do not always speak out immediately.

"There are many reasons why children don't report sexual abuse when they're little. In a lot of cases they only come out when people are in the 30s, 40s or 50s."

Meanwhile, Hewitt will go on trial next year for three charges of alleged rape and sexual assault.

But he denies the charges saying it is all lies.