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Experiences Shared


All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Amy suffered mental and physical abuse within her family and did not have a good relationship with her mother. Social services was a major part of her life, with regular meetings on all aspects of her care. She says a number of incidents of abuse have left her feeling angry and frustrated with both social services and the police.

When Amy was a pre-teen, she began chatting on a teen website to Alex, who she believed to be an 18-year-old male but turned out to be male teacher.

Alex started manipulating her, but she says that as a child at the time she had no idea that she was being groomed. She says this continued for about five months, and she met with Alex on a number of occasions where he sexually abused her.

About month after this abuse ended, Amy skipped school with other friends and was drinking alcohol in the town centre. She cannot remember exactly why but she ended up in local police station, drunk.

She says she was later released and told to return home alone, with no money or other personal property. As she left the police station, two men kidnapped her. She recalls that they drove her around for a considerable time, trying to ‘do stuff’ to her.

Eventually they dropped her off in an area of the town that she did not know. She describes how lost and terrified she felt. As she tried to walk home, a man driving a car offered her a lift. Instead of taking her home, he took her to a house where a number of other men sexually abused her. She believes this attack happened until the following morning, when she was taken home. 

Amy recalls going through several police interviews in the days that followed. She believes the officers working on the case had preconceptions about her. She thinks one of the men involved was later given a prison sentence and that there were allegations from other girls who had been abused by the same gang.

Whilst being interviewed about the kidnapping, Amy remembers that the police asked about the first abuse by Alex, but she felt she could not deal with it at the time and did not report it until later.

However when Amy did report what Alex had done, the police told her that she could not accuse a man and destroy his life just because she said that he had abused her. Despite the police comments, Alex was later taken to court, found guilty and given a lengthy prison sentence.

Amy feels angry and frustrated at social services and the police for the way that they have handled her care and investigations into abuse. She feels social services failed in their responsibilities to her as a child. She says that much of her social services file was negative, with comments saying that she was making up the abuse to get attention.

Amy had difficult teenage years and has regularly felt that she wanted to kill herself. She was referred to a counsellor who has been a great support to her. She now feels she is over everything that has happened and no longer sees herself as an abused person.

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