Quick Exit

Experiences Shared

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

Download a PDF sample of accounts

Bella can remember that when she was growing up that she always ‘felt different’

read full account

Bella’s abuser was known to her parents because of his connection with the church. He was also in charge of a youth group. She can remember being abused by him twice, once in his house and once in the back of a shop.

Although she had a good memory from when she was little, it was only during psychotherapy treatment that memories of abuse started to come back to her.

read full account

Mary is still haunted by the trauma of sexual abuse by her older brother

read full account

Mary has made great efforts to deal with the trauma of sexual abuse by her older brother, but it continues to haunt her.

Mary feels her experiences have wrecked her relationships and knows that she is exceptionally protective of her child. She says: ‘I feel my life would have taken a totally different path if I hadn’t been abused.’

read full account

Edison experienced humiliation and betrayal when he reported sexual abuse

read full account

Edison grew up witnessing regular violence from his stepfather towards his mother. After the couple separated, his mother believed the reason her son continued to spend time with her ex-partner was that their relationship had survived the marital breakdown. 

In fact, Edison’s stepfather was sexually abusing him, and threatened to kill Edison and his mother if he stopped visiting or told anyone. 

read full account

It meant a lot to Briar that a counsellor thanked her for helping prosecute a sexual abuser

read full account

Briar was sexually abused by two of her mother’s partners. 

One of them was finally convicted after years of inaction by the authorities and delays in the case, which added to the impact of the abuse for Briar.

read full account

At Sam’s religious boarding school there was a culture of acceptance of sexual abuse

read full account

Sam attended a religious boarding school during the 1970s. He explains how he was one of several boys who were sexually abused by a teacher.

Victor was not a priest, but a lay member of staff. Very soon after he joined the school, he started abusing Sam. He would invite Sam to his personal quarters, on the pretext of helping him with his studies.

read full account

Terry says of the children’s home: ‘I would rather have gone to prison ... the cruelty was unbelievable’

read full account

Terry’s father served overseas during the Second World War. His mother was unable to look after her children and Terry and his brother were sent to different Roman Catholic children’s homes.

He survived a regime of organised and sadistic abuse in the home, and narrowly avoided being sent abroad as a child migrant. His brother was sent overseas, with tragic consequences.

read full account

Ben says ‘Looking at the map of my abuse, everybody knew … nobody stopped it.’

read full account

As a young boy, Ben loved his local church and joined the choir, often performing at concerts.

He thought the choirmaster, Robin, seemed like a ‘nice, modern chap’ and was pleased when Robin invited him to his home to see a train set.

read full account

A childhood in institutional care exposed Leroy to repeated sexual and physical abuse

read full account

Leroy was born in the 1950s. When he was a baby, he was removed from his mother’s care and placed in a children’s home. 

At the age of eight, he was placed in a psychiatric institution where a brutal regime prevailed. No support or help was provided by staff – only ridicule, humiliation and abuse.

read full account

Maggie left the area where she grew up because of the bad memories it holds for her

read full account

Maggie describes growing up with her brother in a house where they were not allowed to play, make any noise or have toys.

From the age of seven to 10 years, she was sexually abused by two men in her local community, but was told not to ‘make a fuss’ when she tried to tell her mother what was happening.

read full account

No one had ever looked at Tamara, or talked to her, the way her abuser did

read full account

Tamara’s mum suffered with mental health difficulties and was in constant fear of ending up in a mental health hospital. This meant that the mother and daughter roles were reversed.

A man groomed her with flattery and attention, then sexually and verbally abused her. She blamed herself for what happened.

read full account

Cyril suffered sexual abuse in children’s homes in the years following World War II

read full account

Cyril grew up in a large family. His father had mental health problems after the war and Cyril knows that he was taken into care at the age of one, as were two of his sisters, each to different places.  

In the late 1940s he was sent to a children’s home. From there many children were migrated to Australia. Cyril only just escaped this fate as his father refused to give permission for his son to be sent abroad.

read full account

The cruelty and abuse Gloria endured as a child made her determined to love and protect other people

read full account

For reasons she has never understood, Gloria lived for seven years in a convent that was a children’s home. 

She gives an account of cruelty by sadistic nuns, and one in particular who also sexually abused her. 

read full account

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.