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Greta says the abusers, not the victims, should be removed from the family home

All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Greta never knew her birth father. 

Her mother’s partner Ned was the only father she ever knew, but this man sexually abused her.

Ned had been in Greta’s life since she was just over two years old. She now realised that he started grooming her when she was very young, until he first sexually abused her when she was 11.

After the abuse began, Greta’s grades dropped at school and her behaviour changed. Her sister told a teacher ‘something was going on’ and her mother spoke to social services because she was concerned about Greta, but no one asked her what was wrong. 

Ned continued abusing Greta until she was 16. When a close older relative died, Greta decided she ‘couldn’t take it any more’ and she went on her own to the police station and told them what Ned had been doing to her. 

He was arrested, but given bail and allowed to return to the family home, so Greta had to leave and live in a hostel. She received no support and remembers how alone and isolated she felt. This feeling was made worse when she was sent on her own for a medical examination.

During the criminal investigation, her younger siblings were removed from the family home. 

It took a long time for the case to go to trial because Ned did not admit the abuse. 

By the time the court date was fixed, Greta had become pregnant. She had to give evidence and be cross-examined about the years of abuse in the late stages of her pregnancy. Ned received a long prison sentence. 

Greta was told that because she was over 16 years old, she was not entitled to any support or services. She had no money, and had to beg for a travel warrant to travel to the court.

Greta says the abuse had a very bad effect on her relationship with her mum and her siblings, who were placed in care, although this is now improving. She says she does not blame her mother as she had a difficult life, and she believes her mum did not know about the abuse by Ned.

She feels it was wrong that she and her siblings had to leave the family home when the abuser was given bail and allowed to return there.

She says the response from social services ‘could not have been worse’. They talked about taking away her baby before it was born and she thinks they believed she could not be a fit mother because she had been abused. She has never received any support or counselling. 

Greta feels strongly that victims and survivors should not be penalised or judged. She adds that in schools, the police and social services should be more aware of the signs of abuse. 

She is now planning her future for herself and her child, and hopes to move to another part of the country to make a new start. 

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