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Experiences Shared

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The‌ ‌Inquiry‌ ‌has‌ ‌taken‌ ‌the‌ ‌difficult decision‌‌ to‌ ‌stop‌ holding face to face Truth Project sessions‌ ‌at‌ ‌this‌ ‌time, after carefully considering the Government's guidance. Other methods of sharing are still available.

Gary

All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Gary was one a group of boys who were sexually abused by a member of the support staff at their school.

When they complained, teaching staff in the school ostracised them to the extent that their education was affected. The abuser was later convicted.

Gary explains that he was 11 years old when he began attending an extra-curricular club run by Ken.  

He says that Ken made a point of encouraging him to join the club. One day Ken sent the other boys home and asked Gary to go to his room. He then locked the door and proceeded to sexually touch the young pupil. 

The abuse continued for about a year. Gary describes how he used to freeze when the man touched him, and he says ‘I don’t know why I went back but I continued going to the club’. 

When two other boys approached Gary and asked whether Ken had been touching him, he was too scared to say yes, so he denied it. However, the parents of the other boys told Gary’s parents, and it was reported to the school.

Gary and the other boys were taken out of their classes and made to sit in an office belonging to another staff member. Gary says they were called ‘lying little bastards’.

Ken was suspended but a close relative of his worked at the school, and she and another teacher verbally abused the boys. The issue was not kept confidential, so all the other pupils knew and called the boys names. 

Gary says ‘I felt we were ostracised. We had no work given to us so we started truanting … the school were not bothered’.

Later a court case followed. He describes the experience as horrible and says it was only afterwards that he realised how awful his treatment by the school had been.

He explains that his education suffered due to truanting and he ‘went off the rails’. He began self-harming, and had problems with anger and self-hatred. As an adult he has used drugs and alcohol and been diagnosed with PTSD. He has difficulties with relationships and feels he is an overprotective parent. 

He adds ‘It affected everything in my life and even my mum and dad’s’.

Gary feels strongly that schools must have a clear protocol for how they manage allegations of abuse against staff, and that confidentiality should be maintained. 

He would like victims and survivors of child sexual abuse to have the opportunity to go back to court as adults, because he says, ‘as children you don’t know the impact and you are not listened to’.

He would also like to see improvements in mental health services and support for all children who come forward to report abuse. 

But, he concludes, ‘As long as different things are in place now, I can’t go back and change things. I just want to have a normal life with my kids.’

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.