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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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On reporting her abuse to the police, Lynda says ‘I went in a survivor and left feeling like a victim’

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Lynda was fostered, along with her sister, when she was a toddler. After a series of placements, the girls were permanently placed with a couple who had their own child and another young boy who was also fostered.

By this time Lynda was four and her sister a few years older. Lynda remembers there was ‘no love in that house whatsoever’ and describes her foster father, Robert, as ‘not a very nice person’.

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Stella says ‘It affects how you are if you are treated badly when young and people take advantage of that’

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Stella says she loved and admired her mother but describes her as emotionally unstable. She was a difficult parent who referred to her daughter as ‘unexpected – a little mistake’. 

Her lack of confidence because of her treatment at home, and her politeness, made her vulnerable to abuse.

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Clive’s life was badly affected after being sexually abused by a stranger in the public toilets

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Sexually abused by a stranger when he was a small boy, Clive has struggled with the psychological and emotional effects ever since.

Clive really wants people to understand that for those who have been sexually abused: ‘It doesn’t need to be stigmatised as some sort of disability, but it does need to be recognised that this will have a lifelong impact.’

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Penny was sexually abused by the deputy matron in the care home where she was a teenage volunteer

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Penny’s early childhood years were difficult. Her father had mental health problems and she was physically abused and emotionally neglected. The family frequently moved house.

When Penny was in her early teens, the matron of a local care home came into her school asking for volunteers. Penny decided to do this. 

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

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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.

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Russell was sexually abused by his family GP, but the police did not investigate

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Russell did not talk about his abuse for many years, until it came out in a counselling session. Since then he has not been able to forget about it.

He says that, looking back, he realises he was abused by his family doctor at his very first appointment, even though his mother was in the room.

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Leonard is upset that his parents’ trust was betrayed by the priests who sexually abused him

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Leonard’s family were devout Christians and he and his two siblings were sent to church schools. He and one of his siblings were sexually abused by priests but at the time did not confide in each other or their parents.

Leonard describes how tortured he felt by the abuse, and his distress that his parents were so cruelly deceived by people they respected and trusted.

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Susan feigned symptoms so she could stay in hospital and escape sexual abuse at home

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Susan describes growing up in a ‘dysfunctional family’, where it was common for family members to put each other down and swear at one another. The relationship between her parents was extremely violent and the police were frequently called to deal with incidents between them.

As a little girl, she adored her brother, but he began sexually abusing her, and she still suffers the lasting effects of this trauma.

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