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Experiences Shared

These are some of the experiences of child sexual abuse shared with the Truth Project. All names and identifying details have been changed.

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A scoutmaster’s position as ‘part of the family’ enabled him to sexually abuse Shaun for years

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Shaun was abused as a child on multiple occasions by his scoutmaster, Frank, who was a friend of Shaun’s parents.

He says it was not until he was an adult that he understood how wrong the abuse was, because abusers ’play with the heads’ of their victims and make them think the behaviour is ‘normal’.

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Harry is still haunted by his experience in residential school

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Harry was prompted to speak about the sexual abuse he suffered as a child by recent reports of sex offences by football coaches against young players. He says he wishes he could have spoken about it earlier

The sexual abuse occurred at a residential primary school, where he was sent because of previous non-attendance at school. Some of the other lads were nice, he says, but others horrible, and some teachers ‘had it in for him’.

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After being sexually abused in care, Katie says care records need to be accurate and transparent

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Katie was taken into care at a young age but is not sure exactly why. She says she felt well‑loved by her family but remembers her mother forgetting to pick her up from school a couple of times, having been drinking.

Katie describes the next six years of her life in children’s homes as ‘hell on earth’. She was subjected to sexual abuse, violent assault, emotional abuse and neglect. On one occasion she believes she nearly died – she had a serious illness, but care staff did not believe she was ill and would not seek medical help.

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Yvonne says ‘I now realise it wasn’t my fault, I wasn’t to blame, I couldn’t have stopped it’

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Yvonne grew up in a disrupted family. Before she was in her teens, she had been subjected to sexual abuse at the hands of three men.

Her father, who had physically abused Yvonne and her siblings, took his own life when she was about four or five years old.

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Albert says ‘I’ve tried to act as normal as possible. That may have been a mistake’

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Albert’s parents, who were very religious, sent him to a religious junior and secondary school because they wanted him to have a stable education. 

He describes a terrible culture of violence. Some of the church staff and brothers inflicted physical punishment and abuse on children, including some particularly vulnerable young boys.

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Joseph’s pain is made worse by feeling he could have prevented other children being abused in the Scouts

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Joseph tells of the continuing anguish he feels as a result of being abused by his scoutmaster, Seth. The abuse occurred on a weekly basis when he was in the Scouts and he now knows that Seth was abusing other children, although he did not know this at the time.

Another person who was abused by Seth made a complaint about him. When Joseph saw this information in the press, he came forward, as did other victims and survivors.

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Grace felt she did what she had to do to be loved

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Throughout Grace’s childhood her dad was in poor health and her mum was vulnerable. Despite that, she describes her younger self as a typical teenager.

She attended an all-girls school. When she was a young teenager, a man called Kyle drove past her school in his car and offered to take Grace for a drink.

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After a lifetime of physical abuse, Glenn thought a sexual abuser was showing him love

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Glenn’s story begins when he was taken away from his homeless mother soon after he was born and taken into care. His mother was denied visitation rights and she had passed away by the time he left care. He never knew the identity of his father. 

He spent time in several different children’s homes across the country. During this time, he suffered physical and sexual abuse by his carers and at the hands of regular visitors approved by the homes. 

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Lucy’s trauma has caused lifelong problems for herself and her family

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Hospitalised at the age of 11 years because of an assault by her mother, Lucy was taken into care and placed with a foster family. There, she was raped repeatedly by a violent man and his two teenage sons.

Lucy’s attempts to seek justice have not succeeded and she has suffered severe mental health difficulties. Despite this, she has managed to build strong and happy relationships with her family and loved ones.

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Derek says that if people focus on compensation, they will not address solutions and cures

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Derek describes how being sexually abused by a teacher at boarding school made him feel embarrassed and guilty.

The teacher was very friendly and would invite Derek to his room, where he drew him into a sexual relationship. Derek says that at the time he felt there was no cruelty involved. Instead he felt bad for ‘encouraging favourable treatment’ and for doing something that he knew was wrong.

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Jack says ‘I hated everyone, nobody cared and I was abusing solvents and truanting’

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Placed in care due to a family break-up, Jack’s vulnerability was exploited by a worker in the care system. Years later a gesture of kindness from a teacher was a turning point in his chaotic life that helped him reassess his view of the world.

Jack tried to report his abuser, but his experience was frustrating and unsatisfactory.

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Angus felt safer in a police cell than at home

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Given up by his family at a young age, Angus was left at the mercy of abusive carers. His childhood was so troubled as a result that he describes how being in a police cell felt safer than being at home.

Angus says that when his mother asked for him to be placed for adoption, his father, who was in the forces, agreed this was in his best interests. He comments: ‘It wrecked my life, being rejected by my own family.’

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