Quick Exit

Experiences Shared

Jessica

All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

During the 1980s, when she was aged between 12 and 16 years, Jessica was sexually and physically abused at various children’s homes.

She describes how she has fought and campaigned for justice and transparency for many years because she wants to prevent others going through the same experiences. She says she will not rest until light is finally shone on the sexual abuse perpetrated in the area where she grew up.

Jessica feels that she was denied the level of support and care that should be provided to every child. She says: ‘It seemed no-one cared.’

She observes that abusers are cunning individuals who know how to become involved with children while protecting themselves from discovery.

When she first tried to report the sexual abuse she and others suffered, she did not find the police to be supportive. Despite providing a list of abusers, the investigation focused on one individual only.

This person was convicted of cruelty rather than sexual abuse. Jessica believes that the police misdirected their enquiries and she was devastated by their failure to prosecute many of the others whom Jessica regarded as abusers.

When she tried again more recently to report incidents of sexual abuse she was told it was unlikely someone like her would get justice. She feels she has been met with hostility by local councils and local government bodies when trying to expose sexual abuse.

Jessica’s impression is that they want ‘everything to stay in the past and not to be dragged into the spotlight’. She has used a solicitor to put pressure on a local council to release historical documentation relating to the sexual abuse she suffered. She has needed to obtain court orders to access papers which are heavily redacted.

She is concerned that, while local councils are not deliberately protecting abusers, they are more concerned about preserving their reputation and avoiding liability for civil damages than admitting, addressing and learning from their past failings. Jessica is aware of an individual, whom she regards as an abuser, who was still employed by a city council as recently as a few years ago.

Jessica began to self-harm as a result of her abuse when she was 12 years old and living in care. She finds it difficult to trust people and fears close contact with anyone. She has been diagnosed with complex PTSD and takes medication to manage some of the symptoms.

Jessica recommends that organisations should be able to apologise to victims without it affecting their insurance liability. She also says that safeguarding improvements are needed so that children are listened to, believed and better protected.

She adds that at trials it is very difficult for victims to obtain relevant and important information about perpetrators, but the accused can access much of the victim’s data and history. She believes that this is wrong and unjust.

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