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Survivors' voices

Experiences shared

These are some of the experiences of child sexual abuse shared with the Truth Project by victims and survivors. All names and identifying details have been changed.

Download a PDF sample of accounts

Andres says ‘Children are not criminals – they need care’

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Andres was raped when he was 11 years old. 

After this ordeal, he began stealing and was sentenced to youth custody, where he suffered further abuse.

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Olga says the priest who abused her knew all about ‘our family, our poverty, our bereavement’

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Olga was sexually abused by her father, and by a senior Catholic priest. 

Her family lived in difficult circumstances and she says the priest was aware of this and took advantage of it to abuse her.

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Amelie says there should be more rigorous scrutiny of foster parents

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Amelie suffered sexual and emotional abuse by the biological daughter of her foster parents.

Amelie’s foster mother threw her out when Amelie told her what her daughter was doing. 

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Valentine says of her family circumstances ‘I don’t know how anyone could not raise questions’

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Valentine’s mother had serious mental health problems. 

She thinks that the professionals involved with the family should have paid more attention to the welfare of the children.

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Ruby says ‘You can be different people in a lifetime, I think, if you are given the chance’

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As a young girl Ruby suffered cruelty and abuse in her home at the hands of her stepfather. She describes how she has worked at recovering and says she feels lucky.

She says ‘It is really important to get people to voice things ... there is a need to recognise that you are a victim but that it isn’t your fault’.

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Donovan says abuse can happen to anyone. ‘I had a good childhood and it happened to me’

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Donovan grew up in the 1970s and says he had a happy family life.

He was abused by a sports coach in the Cub Scouts. Years later, he saw media reports about similar abuse and was able to speak about it.

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Johnnie thinks it would be easier for him to report being sexually abused in ‘today’s world’

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Johnnie was adopted in the 1940s by a childless couple.

It is not clear what, if any, checks were made on the adoptive parents, but the father sexually abused Johnnie for several years.

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Shauna was embarrassed when she realised she wasn’t the only girl to be abused by her teacher

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Shauna was 14 when a teacher at her secondary school started grooming her. 

As soon as she turned 16, he began having sex with her.

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