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IICSA published its final Report in October 2022. This website was last updated in January 2023.



Evonne felt different from children who seemed carefree. ‘I felt I had a big weight on my shoulders’

All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Evonne grew up with her mother and stepfather, who was very violent. 

Her mum relied on her own parents to help care for her children, but Evonne’s grandfather was an abuser.

The childcare arrangement allowed Evonne’s grandfather a lot of access to her. She says that her grandmother would sleep in a bedroom with her brothers, while her grandfather slept in her room. She comments that this was an odd arrangement ‘but that’s how it was’. 

Evonne thinks her grandfather started sexually abusing her when she was about four years old. The abuse started with digital penetration. She says ‘As I got older, I got normalised to it’. 

He started raping her, but when her periods started he reverted to touching her. 

She remembers the conflicted feelings she had about spending time with her grandparents. She describes it as a welcome escape from her mum and her violent boyfriend. ‘We got pancakes, watched TV, and there was no shouting’ she says.

From a young age, Evonne was withdrawn at school and did not play with other children. She recalls ‘A teacher asked me if everything was ok at home. I just cried and I was scared’. She was taken to see a hospital doctor because she had a lot of urinary infections. ‘I think he examined me, I remember it was painful’ she says.  

Evonne was a good student until she was 13, but then she started ‘doing stupid things like taking drugs, hanging out with the wrong crowd and shoplifting’. She was still being sent to her grandparents and she says her grandfather would sometimes point out news items about paedophiles, saying ‘that’s horrible’. But she adds, ‘he was still touching me ... it was confusing’. 

Evonne remembers that when she was a young child she thought her grandfather would die soon and ‘I could put up with this until he died … but I got to 14 and started to realise he wasn’t going to die’.  

She did tell some of her friends she was being abused and they tried to persuade her to tell someone. But she was worried that social workers would come and take her and her brothers into care. 

But then Evonne told a teacher about the abuse and the teacher persuaded her to report it. She says this ‘had a profound effect on the family’. She and her mother had counselling, and one of her brothers ‘went off the rails’. He had looked to his grandfather to be the role model that his father was not. Evonne says ‘I felt horrible, as though I was hurting everyone else’. 

She developed an eating disorder and still struggles with this. She describes herself as ‘paranoid about people’ and says she makes poor judgements and jumps into relationships to get acceptance and love. She has nightmares and has suffered from depression. 

Evonne feels that professionals should make more effort to build trust with children so they feel able to speak about their problems and concerns, and that children should be educated about abuse in a way that does not frighten them.

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