Quick Exit

Experiences Shared

Patrick

All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

From a young age, Patrick attended a residential school. He tells how he was abused by Angus, an older pupil.

Angus would come into Patrick’s dormitory bed at night. In his innocence, the younger boy initially thought perhaps they had to sleep together because there were not enough beds at the school for every pupil to have their own.

The abuse frightened Patrick and he says he cried a lot, but no one asked him what was wrong. He did not tell anyone what was happening to him. On one occasion Angus was caught in Patrick’s dormitory but no action was taken.

The abuse stopped when Angus was removed from the school. Patrick has since been told by police that this was because the staff caught Angus abusing another pupil at the school, so ‘they could not pretend it wasn’t happening’.

Patrick describes the sadness and depression he has suffered as a result of the abuse. He has not wanted to have children for fear they might experience similar abuse.

It has damaged his ability to have loving and intimate relationships and ruined his relationship with his parents and family. He does not feel close to any of them and has not been able to tell his mother he loves her since he was abused.

He believes the psychological injuries from the abuse has led to mental health problems which negatively impacted his academic performance and career opportunities.

A few years ago, he reported the abuse to the police. He describes their response as ‘pretty good’, although the long wait to give evidence was difficult for him to deal with.

Conversely, he says that when he approached the school, they were hostile and dismissive of his claims. However, he made contact through social media with three other people who had been abused at the school. They provided evidence at a Criminal Injuries Compensation tribunal. The panel found in Patrick’s favour and he won compensation for his abuse. 

Patrick has been having therapy, which has eased some of his symptoms. He feels that the negative and incredibly damaging consequences of child sexual abuse grow exponentially from the moment the abuse starts.

He feels strongly that preventing abuse should be the highest priority and that prompt and compassionate treatment of victims and survivors should be of equal importance.

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