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Pauly feels the court process he went through met the needs of the perpetrator rather than his victims

All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Pauly was sexually abused as a teenager by the head of a children’s home.

He describes his difficult experiences of trying to get justice at the time, and again nearly 40 years later.

Pauly was placed into a children’s home, because of his ‘challenging behaviour’, when he was in his early teens. Very soon after he arrived, the head of the home began to groom him and then sexually abuse him. Pauly told another youngster, who must have repeated what he said, because the police came to speak to him at the home on the same day.

He describes how unpleasant this was – he had to give a statement with no appropriate adult present. He has a vivid memory of the police officers laughing at him and commenting that he must have ‘enjoyed’ the abuse because he had told them he got an erection when the head abused him. He feels the attitude to boys in his care home was that they were ‘naughty, mouthy kids who had what was coming to them’.

Pauly was sent back to his family home, and soon after was visited by the police. Again, they spoke to him alone and pressured him to retract his statement. He refused, but the investigation did not proceed any further.

He has since found out that the abuser was an ex-police officer, and he wonders if this explains their attitude and lack of action.

Pauly says he has few memories of the rest of his teenage years after the abuse – he remembers feeling that he needed to bury this period of his life.

He describes a difficult adult life, suffering with anger, anxiety, depression and addictions. He feels strongly that he is worthless, and finds it hard to trust people, and form and sustain good relationships. His marriage broke down, he has been homeless and has had physical health problems related to stress.

A few years ago, he realised that these issues are a result of the sexual abuse he suffered as a child, and he decided to report it again. 

Pauly says this time he has had a positive experience with the police, who have investigated the abuse. There are several more victims and survivors who are part of the same criminal proceedings. 

However, he has found the court process traumatic. He feels that the perpetrator, who is now elderly, has been allowed to use excuses to not attend hearings and cause delays. Three years after he reported the abuse for the second time, he feels he is no closer to getting justice. 

Pauly feels that too much effort is being made to accommodate the abuser, with not enough consideration for his victims and survivors. Pauly fears that his abuser may ‘go to his grave as an innocent man’ in the eyes of the law if the delays continue. He believes there should be a ‘fast tracking’ of criminal proceedings in non-recent cases, so that justice can be achieved quickly.

He also highlights the gaps in support for male victims and survivors of sexual abuse, and feels that there should be more funding available for male-focused services. He would also like to see society tackling the stigma that exists in relation to child sexual abuse, especially regarding male victims. 

Pauly feels strongly that young boys need better education about grooming and child sexual abuse, and strategies to keep themselves safe. This should emphasise the fact that abuse is often perpetrated by people they know and people in positions of power.

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