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Experiences Shared


All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Criminal behaviour, alcohol abuse and violence was a regular feature in Denny’s family life when he was growing up in the 1970s and 80s.

He spent time in a youth detention centre as a teenager, where he was subjected to violent assaults and sexual abuse.

Denny was in his mid teens when he was convicted of a petty crime. He describes the detention centre as ‘run on fear’, with physical assaults on children by staff occurring every day. He recounts how children were forced to hold stress positions and perform ‘bunny hops’ for hours, often until they collapsed.

He explains that when they arrived at the centre, the youngsters were placed on a work rota that moved them to different areas, beginning with the garden. During his time there, he was raped twice by the head gardener. He comments ‘I certainly wasn’t the first’ and adds that he would not have thought of reporting it because he knew he would have been simply ‘laughed at’.

About one year later, Denny experienced a breakdown and was admitted to a mental health hospital. 

More recently, Denny learned that other people had come forward to report being abused in the detention centre, so he called the police. They interviewed him, but have not been in touch since and he is angry and distressed about this. He says ‘I kept it in for 27 years … it’s just been such a let-down’.

He has not been asked to identify the perpetrator, but, ‘his face is imprinted on my brain. I’d know him no matter how he’s aged’. 

Denny emphasises the importance of good communication from the police for victims and survivors who report child sexual abuse. 

He takes medication for mental health issues and has done for many years. He feels he has difficulty forming relationships but is married and says his wife is very supportive. He went to university and now runs his own business. 

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