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



‘Once they’ve used you up and you’ve aged, they move on’ Kiya says, about men who groom children

All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

When Kiya was 12, she was groomed and raped by a local man she met online.

More than 10 years later, she is extremely concerned that male sexual predators continue to groom and abuse young girls in her hometown.

Kiya is of dual heritage. She lived overseas with her parents for a while but then returned to the UK with her mother.

As a single parent, Kiya’s mum worked long hours to support her children.  

Kiya says that when she reached the age of about 10 years, ‘I had an urge to get to know people who looked like me’. She began chatting on social media and can see now that this is how she was groomed. 

She comments that because this kind of communication was quite new, ‘my mum had no idea about it … so by the age of about 10 or 11 I was probably speaking to people I shouldn’t be’.

Kiya had recently started secondary school when a male called Salat who had been messaging her on Facebook asked to meet her. 

She arranged to meet him at a friend’s house. She says ‘It turned out he was in his 20s. He raped me’. She was 12 years old.

At the time, Kiya says, ‘I didn't really know what was happening or that it was such a terrible thing’. Later, her friend told people in their school that Kiya was a ‘slag’. Kiya says she felt ‘trapped in a shameful lie … I couldn’t tell anyone what had happened’.

However, she says that by the time she was in her mid-teens, she had realised that what had happened to her was ‘very, very wrong’.

She continued to see Salat in the local area and she says ‘He was always with really young girls’. 

Not long after, Kiya told a teacher she trusted that she had been raped. The teacher called social services and Kiya’s mum. She says her mum wasn't very supportive and partly blamed Kiya for being raped.

She remembers social workers coming to her house to check if there was enough food, but they didn’t ask her about the rape and the police were not involved. 

Kiya says her behaviour got ‘worse and worse’. She was sleeping with older men but now understands this was sexual abuse. ‘I think I was trying to get some power back’ she says. 

She tried to speak to a support worker at school when she was upset but was accused of trying to get out of lessons. ‘I think because I wasn’t treated kindly by others it pushed me further into a cycle of abusing sex, drugs, alcohol’ she says. 

Kiya continued to see Salat and other predatory older men grooming young girls. She continues ‘Part of the reason I wanted to speak about this is a lot of people I grew up with were groomed by older men and it is still going on’.

She believes that poverty makes many of these girls vulnerable to abuse.

Kiya would like to see more training around child sexual abuse. She also thinks ‘many parents are naively unaware of the treacherous nature of growing up with the internet. My mum didn’t understand it. Parents need to be educated about how easy it is for children to contact adults’.

She feels strongly that children need to be taught about the risks online in an age-appropriate way. She would also like young people to have a space where they can share their experiences knowing they won’t be judged or shouted at.

Kiya is now in her 20s and has left the area. She says ‘I have moved away because I couldn’t stomach seeing young girls with these older guys’.

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