Skip to main content

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



All the people who could have protected Sharan from sexual abuse let her down

All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Sharan was told by her mother that she should not walk round in her nightclothes to avoid being sexually abused by her stepfather.

Professionals involved with the family failed to act on reports and signs that she was being abused.

Sharan’s parents divorced and she moved with her mother and siblings to a large council estate on the edge of a big city.

Sharan’s mother met another man called Lionel. He moved into the family home and became Sharan’s stepfather. 

With hindsight, Sharan thinks that Lionel involved himself with her mother because she had children. He started to abuse Sharan when she was 11 years old. He made her touch him and would threaten her and say things like ‘You tell your mother and she’ll believe me over you’.

But after some time, Sharan told her mother and she confronted Lionel. She heard them having a row, and Lionel saying words to the effect ‘She walks around in her nightdress ... she’s not my daughter … what do you expect?’ 

Sharan’s mother reacted by telling her that Lionel would move to a different part of the house and told Sharan ‘Don’t walk around in your nightdress’.

Sharan was used to her mother giving low priority to her needs. She says ‘My mother used to keep me off school; she didn’t believe in education for girls’.

Lionel continued to sexually abuse Sharan at home and elsewhere. The abuse escalated to rape. He would constantly make comments to Sharan such as ‘You don’t know what you do to me … you bewitch me’ and he told her he loved her. He was violent towards her and took her to friends and associates, who also sexually abused her. 

Sharan ran away from home aged 13. She told the police about Lionel but she was returned to the family home and the abuse continued. She had not been attending school, and she often went to her GP with vaginal thrush.  

When Sharan was 15 her mother left the family home, leaving her children with Lionel. For a time, Sharan was forced to share his bed.

Shortly after, she left home and started a job.

Some years after the abuse ended for Sharan, Lionel was sent to prison for sexually abusing children in another family. More recently, Sharan made a complaint to the police about Lionel. An investigation took place but did not proceed, although the police have recently reopened the case.

Sharan still suffers from PTSD and nightmares.

She would like the police to take victims and survivors seriously, and keep in touch with them and provide support during investigations.  

Sharan is married and has a very close supportive relationship with her husband. 

Back to top