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



Howard says ‘It horrifies me … he was a person of trust in the perfect job to abuse’

All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Howard was sexually abused as a young teenager by a male nurse in a hospital treatment room.

He says he has had a happy life, but decades later, he still feels angry that a health professional got away with sexually abusing an injured child.

When Howard was in his early teens, he hurt his neck while he was playing with a friend. His father took him to their local hospital where he was sent for X-rays and then taken to a treatment room. ‘I can’t remember why, but my dad was somewhere else and I was on my own’ he says.

Howard was treated by a male nurse, who told him that he needed to ‘straighten’ his head before putting on a neck brace. The nurse warned Howard it would be painful but said ‘Don’t worry, I’m going to relax you’. He then asked Howard if he masturbated, put lubricant on his hands, lifted up Howard’s gown and started masturbating him.  

Howard clearly remembers a powerful smell of aftershave and the nurse’s name on his name badge. His body responded in the way that would be expected from a teenage boy, but he was unsure about what was happening and why.

While the nurse was sexually abusing him, a female nurse came into the treatment room to get something. The abuser immediately stopped and pretended to be doing something else. Howard says ‘At that point I thought – this is not good’.

When the female nurse left the room, the male nurse resumed the abuse. He then cleaned Howard and took him back to his father.   

Howard remembers feeling ‘very odd’. He adds ‘I wondered … do I tell my dad?’ but decided not to as he knew his father had a temper. Later, Howard told his brother and a friend, but as young teenage boys, they simply laughed about it.

About two weeks later, Howard went back to hospital with his mother to have the neck brace removed. He remembers being surprised to be seen again by the same nurse, as it was a big hospital. While Howard’s mother waited just outside the treatment room, the male nurse sexually abused him again in the same way. 

Howard says ‘I didn’t know what to do’. He felt embarrassed and he didn’t want to tell his parents.


As the years passed, he began to understand that he had been sexually abused. He says ‘With an adult’s mind, the fact he did it to an injured child is what really angers me. How many others did he do it to? The position he was in meant he had massive opportunity and he was prepared to take risks’.

Howard says he felt it would be ‘cruel’ to tell his parents because they would have felt guilty about not protecting him, but he felt increasingly outraged at what had happened. When he was in his late 40s, he consulted a solicitor about possibly taking action. The solicitor told Howard that it had happened too long ago to do anything.

He says he put it out of his mind, and continued with his busy working life, until revelations about Jimmy Savile and media coverage of other child sexual abuse scandals brought his experience back to him.   

Howard says ‘This made me feel I should do something about it’, and he reported the abuse to the police. He told them the name of the hospital and the name that had been on the nurse’s badge, but was informed the hospital had closed, the records had disappeared and the police couldn’t identify the abuser.

Howard says that heightened public awareness of child sexual abuse is positive. The abuse he experienced took place in the 1970s and he says ‘I think nowadays, with what is in the news, I probably would have reported it to the police … that’s why it’s so good it’s coming out’.

For this reason, he says, it is important for children to know how they can report anything they are not happy about. He adds that records should be maintained even after an institution closes. 

‘It is a source of frustration this guy got away with it … I was an injured child yet I was a piece of meat to him’ he says.


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