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Experiences Shared


All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Travis was an only child of parents who both abused alcohol. Despite this, he says that he felt ‘looked after’ by his father.

He was taken into care when he was about five years old and sexually abused by a male member of staff. He reported the abuse decades later and the perpetrator was convicted.

Travis relates that his parents did not live together, and when he was a small boy, he moved in with his father. Often he would return from school and have to wait outside for his father to return, but, he adds ‘There was always food on the table’. 

One day he arrived home to find a social worker at the door, and he was taken into care. He remembers that at first this was ‘scary’, but it also seemed like a fun adventure with lots of other children to play with.

One day, during a party, Travis wet himself. A male staff member, Mr O, told Travis he needed to clean himself up. He ran a bath for Travis and stayed in the room while he bathed. 

Travis remembers Mr O saying things that made him feel uncomfortable but he did not know why.

At some point after this, Travis was moved from a dormitory to a single room, next door to the room where overnight staff slept. One night he remembers being woken by Mr O in his room. This is when the sexual abuse began.

Travis says that as he grew up, he tried to convince himself that the abuse didn’t matter but he often found that thoughts of it would come back to him and affect him. He says that whenever his life was ‘becoming good’, he would ruin it and he couldn’t understand why. 

He has had mental health and anger issues and believes this stems from the abuse. He has been homeless at times and occasionally involved in crime, and had difficulties with relationships.

It was not until the revelations about abuse by Jimmy Savile came out that Travis says that he felt that people were being believed. He picked up the phone and called the police.

He says that they responded well. He gave a statement and Mr O was charged. He discovered that the abuser had already served a prison sentence for sexual offences against other children. 

It also emerged that around the time Mr O had abused Travis, he had admitted having inappropriate thoughts about children. Apparently he saw a psychologist but then returned to work.

Travis’s case against Mr O took a long time to go to trial, and was joined with that of another man who had been abused by him as a child. Mr O was given another long custodial sentence. 

Travis says he was nervous but he says that the victim support he received was ‘amazing’. He adds that when he saw Mr O he realised that he ‘looked pathetic ... he was just an old man’.

After the trial, Travis says he felt very much on his own and he feels that people need support after any court process. He adds that people need different things depending on their personalities, so any support has to be tailored.

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