david schwimmer
David Schwimmer on Good Morning Britain ITV

Friends' star David Schwimmer has spoken out about an underlying serious problem of child abuse in the UK. The actor and producer is visiting Britain to support the NSPCC in a bid to set up child refuges, and revealed his views about the underestimated issue to Good Morning Britain.

Divulging why the issue is close to his heart, he said: "When all of us on the TV show [Friends] first became celebrities, we were all approached by all these different charities, 'will you come on board? Will you do this? Get involved, will you speak out?'"

He added: "I have several friends, men and women, who are victims of child sexual abuse. Especially as a father of a 5-year-old daughter the entire subject matter is even more emotional and more meaningful to me."

Though best known for his roles in comedy shows – and most recently as Robert Kardashian Snr in People v. O.J Simpson – Schwimmer takes his work at the charity very seriously. Speaking about its importance to him, he continued: "That's the great benefit of celebrity, to use it to do this, to communicate something more important, something bigger than oneself."

Schwimmer, 49, has been a long-standing advocate for children's rights and is the director of The Rape Foundation Board in the US, which runs Stuarts House in California. He has one daughter, Cleo, 5, with his British artist wife Zoe Buckman.

He made a film in 2011 about paedophilia, Trust, which was inspired by the experiences of some of his past girlfriends. Schwimmer said: "I want to raise awareness about what's going on... I've had two former girlfriends - long-term relationships - both victims of child sex assault and one also later a victim of date rape."

Watch Good Morning Britain on ITV, weekdays 6am-8.30am.