Quick Exit

Experiences Shared

Status message

Due to the current situation caused by coronavirus (Covid-19) we have made some changes to Truth Project sessions in person. You can still share your experience with the Truth Project over the phone, in writing, and now through a video call.


All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Brian was sexually abused by his father for many years. Lack of support for his mental health problems, and his concern about the possible risk to children in his father’s new family, have added to his distress.

Brian says both his parents worked in good professions and his father was a figure of some importance in the community.

He was very shy at high school and hated the first year. He struggled to fit in and ran away. He also had problems with his throat closing when eating and says he has since learned this can occur for victims of certain types of sexual abuse.

He spoke to a teacher and a priest about feeling unhappy, but did not go into detail and no one questioned why he was so distressed.

When Brian was in his 20s he began to experience mental health problems. It was many years before he was able to put together what had happened to him.

He says flashbacks of rape and forced oral sex caused him a great deal of pain and torment. He had been working and studying for a post-graduate qualification at university but after this, for a few years, was unable to work. He developed a stutter and became semi-mute.

Brian returned home so his mother could care for him.

He suffered from daily flashbacks, often lasting for hours, and was filled with anger and incomprehension.

By this time, he was estranged from his father and had had no contact with him for many years.

When Brian discovered that his father had remarried and that a grandchild was staying over at his house, he became concerned.

He called the NSPCC who advised him to contact social services. They were sympathetic and understanding and contacted the child’s mother to pass on Brian’s concerns.

He thought about contacting his father’s new family directly but was concerned how that might be perceived. Instead he decided to report his abuse to the police as  advised by social services.

Brian says the initial police response was good. He gave a statement and was asked to attend for an interview a few days later. He found this very unsettling. He says the taped interview seemed more like an interrogation and felt very sterile and unsupportive. He was asked probing questions about matters that he had difficulty remembering because of his problems

The police contacted Brian’s father, who attended with a solicitor to give a statement. He denied all the accusations and the police said they were unable to take matters any further. Brian discovered that the police then questioned his friends about him.

He did not hear anything from the police and suspects they did not give his statement a lot of credence because of his mental health issues.

He says they did not seem to consider that his issues might have been a result of the abuse he was trying to report. He understands the case is ‘on file’ with the police.

Brian has found support with survivors’ groups but feels very let down by social services and the police.

He has had little support for his health issues and he does not think enough was done when he tried to report what had happened to him and the current risk that might exist to another child.

He feels he is coming to terms with what happened, but he still lives in ‘survival mode’.

He would like the authorities to offer more help, so others do not need to suffer like he has.

He recommends that police officers receive training in dealing with and interviewing victims and survivors of child sexual abuse.

He found the response to the reporting of his own abuse unwelcoming and unsympathetic. There was no explanation of what to expect after his disclosure and this left him feeling abandoned.

Brian believes that the NHS needs more funding for mental health issues and that there should be more acknowledgement of the link between child sexual abuse and potentially lifelong mental health issues.

He would like teachers to receive training in identifying signs of potential abuse in the children in their care.

Your privacy

There are very limited circumstances where we tell anyone your name without your consent, for example if a child is currently at risk and we need to tell the police.