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Tenth of survivors coming forward to Inquiry speak of child sexual abuse for first time

30 Gorffennaf 2020

New research from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has found that more than one in 10 victims and survivors who have come forward to the Truth Project are speaking out about their experience for the first time. 

Almost 5,000 survivors of child sexual abuse have now shared experiences with the Truth Project in England and Wales. Of these, 4,269 personal accounts have been analysed for research purposes. 

Survivors spoke of abuse taking place across a range of institutions such as schools, religious settings and residential care, as well as sports and the armed forces. They also talked about experiencing abuse in their family setting and of being failed by someone in authority. Whilst nearly half reported living with an illness or condition that affects their everyday lives, almost all of those who shared their accounts described some form of impact after experiencing abuse in childhood, with 87 percent describing an effect on their mental health.  

In addition to the sexual abuse, more than half of survivors described experiencing other forms of abuse during childhood, such as physical, psychological and emotional. The majority said they had not told anyone about the child sexual abuse at the time it was happening.

Today, the Inquiry is also publishing a further 80 Experiences Shared with the Truth Project. 

These accounts show that even when victims tried to report abuse, they were threatened, ignored or told to stay silent. 

Analetta said the abuser used threats to control her, threatening to hurt her family if she didn’t do what he demanded. He also told her that everyone would think she was ‘dirty’ if they found out about it.

Through their accounts, survivors also describe changes they hope to see in future, such as  further education, improved societal understanding and greater awareness of the impact of child sexual abuse. Many said that by sharing their account, they hoped to help others who had been through a similar experience.

Maksud was sexually abused by a religious leader. He says that speaking out about this might help to address the stigma and shame that too often silences victims of abuse in his community. 

The Truth Project gives survivors the opportunity to share as much or as little as they want about their experiences without question, challenge or judgement. It’s drawing to a close next year so that all of the experiences shared can be used to inform the Inquiry’s Final Report and recommendations, due for publication in 2022, so children are better protected in the future. Survivors who would like to share their experience with the Truth Project can do so in writing, over the telephone or by video call. More information about how to share can be found on the Truth Project website.

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