Skip to main content Quick Exit

Experiences Shared

Drew

All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Drew was lonely at boarding school.

A member of staff took advantage of his vulnerability to sexually abuse him.

When Drew was a child, his parents worked abroad and he was sent to a boarding school, where he found it hard to make friends. 

When he was 11, Drew was befriended by a man called Morris who worked as a maintenance man at the school. Drew had started smoking and Morris would encourage him to do this in secluded areas of the school grounds. He began inviting the boy to his house which was on the school premises.  

Morris had a car, and he asked Drew to go for drives with him. Drew said this was very appealing to him because he was lonely. But on one of these trips Morris exposed his penis to Drew. The abuse escalated to the man making Drew masturbate him, and him masturbating Drew.

Morris continued sexually abusing Drew over two years, sometimes in school grounds and sometimes in his home. 

Drew did not tell anyone about the abuse at the time. He says this was partly because he had no one to talk to but also because he saw his time with Morris as a means of escape. ‘I remember feeling I had freedom here. It was a bolthole to go to and I didn’t want to ruin it’ he says. 

The abuse stopped when Drew moved into another house in a different part of the school.

It was more than 30 years later, when Drew was walking by a police station he passed every day on the way to work, that he decided on the spur of the moment to report what had happened.

He describes his experience of the police investigation as very positive. At first the police could not locate Morris but they contacted Drew a few months later to tell him that Morris had been found and other victims and survivors had come forward.

Morris was charged with offences of child sexual abuse against several young boys. He was given a long prison sentence. 

Drew says that in his late teens he abused alcohol. He has suffered with depression and feelings that he is ‘different’. He finds it hard to trust people and he has a particular fear of gay men.

He is troubled with feelings of guilt and shame that he did not ‘resist’ being abused. He has often told himself that he had a choice not to be abused, but he accepted it because he didn’t have friends at school. However, he says he does now see that he was a vulnerable child. 

Drew suggests that schools should identify several members of staff, of different genders and backgrounds, who children can talk to. He adds that all school staff should be vigilant and report any concerns they have about suspicious behaviour, and the school must then have a clear duty to investigate.

Although Drew’s experience with the police was very good, he would have appreciated more support in court. In particular, he says, victims and survivors should never have to come into contact with perpetrators in waiting areas. 

After he reported the abuse to the police, Drew told his wife about it. 

He now feels able to talk about his experience and wants to help prevent abuse in the future. He says ‘There is no closure; but I feel I’ve come to terms with it’.

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.