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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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It is a source of great sadness to Patrick that being abused has damaged his relationships

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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.

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Andrea calls for cultural mediators to work with black, Asian and minority ethnic families

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Andrea was born overseas and brought up in a large family. She says she was spoiled with presents and wanted for nothing.

When she was five years old, her parents moved to the UK, leaving her and her siblings in the care of a grandparent. She was so upset at being separated from her parents that after a time she was sent to join them in the UK.

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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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Sexual abuse and indoctrination by Mormon church members caused Jade’s PTSD

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Jade was brought up as a Mormon. She was sexually abused by male members of the church and by her mother and stepfather.

She was also subjected to emotional abuse by church members who asked her embarrassing and intimidating questions and pressurised her when she was pregnant.

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Charles explains that only the disadvantaged boys in the school club were singled out for abuse

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Charles had a difficult and deprived childhood. He was targeted by authority figures for treats, and then sexually abused.

But, he says, he didn’t feel he could report the abuse – ‘it was a different era’. 

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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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Clyde kept the abuse he suffered to himself for many years, for fear of being labelled a paedophile

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Clyde grew up in the 1950s and 60s. He was neglected and physically abused by his family, and subjected to brutal regimes in the care system.

This made him vulnerable during his childhood and teenage years to serial sexual abuse and exploitation.

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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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Olwyn wishes that professionals could have ‘seen beyond the behaviour to the abused child’

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Olwyn was neglected as a child and sexually abused at home by her stepfather.

Some years later she ran away to escape but endured more abuse in the care system.

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Having endured a lifetime of abuse and hardship, Nina’s main concern is the welfare of her two sons

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Nina says she was born into a ‘complicated’ family environment which was never able to provide the care and support she deserved. Her mother married a man from overseas and Nina was subjected to racial abuse throughout her childhood. After their home was firebombed, they moved to a council house.

Nina’s mother had been abused herself; she suffered from depression and was very unstable. When Nina was a baby her mother put her into foster care for a time as she couldn’t cope. Her older brothers also spent time in care. Two of Nina’s brothers spent some time in a Catholic-run care home where they were physically and sexually abused, returning home with injuries.

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A music teacher made Penelope feel special with one-to-one lessons but then sexually abused her

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Penelope was 16 when she began studying A level music. The teacher, Guy, convinced her she should have extra lessons alone with him.

She later realised that singling her out for individual attention was a ploy to give him the opportunity to abuse her.

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Violence was ‘normal’ for Bobby when he was growing up, which left him vulnerable to sexual abuse

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Bobby’s parents were alcoholics and had a violent relationship, which Bobby often witnessed. The family were known to social services and he was in and out of care as a child.

On one occasion he was placed with a ‘lovely’ foster family, but he says he could not emotionally handle their niceness. Social services placed him with another family that he did not like from the first meeting.The foster father used to mock him. Bobby told the social worker that he did not want to stay with the foster family, but he was left there.

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