The Truth Project has spoken to hundreds of survivors of childhood sexual abuse and compared the experiences of those who were subject to abuse in religious settings with those who were not.
Some victims felt shame and embarrassment which was associated with the abuse, and were less likely to tell someone while it was still going on.
More than two-thirds of victims of abuse in religious settings did not report it at the time, while about half (54%) of those abused in non-religious settings did report it while it was going on.
Nearly half of the victims knew someone else who was also being abused.
Injury Lawyers UK looks at some of the report’s most harrowing accounts. Some of the names and identifying details have been changed.
Angharad is 43, and lives in Dorset. She is a mother with four children
“I don’t know how to begin with my family, and my childhood. I was my mum’s sixth child, my siblings were cruel to me, and I was cut off from my dad.
“My abuser was a chaplain. He was a family friend, and his wife was a primary school teacher. He has three children, and the eldest was like a sister to me. At first, I felt happier going to their house than I was with my own family. I used to play there every day, and go on holiday with them.
“The abuse went on from the age of six to 12 or 13. He was a dominant person, a bully. My dad wasn’t around, so I didn’t know if what he was doing was normal. He was a vile pig. He never actually raped me – he’d make me masturbate him, and then would take my knickers off and watch me go to the toilet and made sure I’d wipe myself.
“I still get flashbacks. Even though he was a chaplain, he had a foul mouth. When people swear heavily, or break wind, it can bring back horrendous memories.
“He could be controlling, especially at dinner times. I’m 43 now and I still do things to spite him, like using the same knife to butter my toast and then putting it in the jam jar.
“I was a bridesmaid to his daughter. At the wedding, he brought up photos of me when I was a child, and he said to everyone, ‘look at her lovely legs, look at her lovely hair, everyone look how lovely she was’.
“At this moment, one of the other bridesmaids turned to me, and asked if he used to do things to me. She got in touch years later. He was going to trial for abusing another girl. I was shocked, I thought it was just me that he’d abused.
“In January 2013, when he was on trial, his family got in touch to ask if I could act as a character witness and provide a reference for him. I said no and began my own proceedings.
“He was already in jail when I bought my charges forward. The case was successful, and he was sentenced to four counts of fifteen months for raping a child.
“The abuse has impacted all aspects of my life. I didn’t like going to school, I’ve been bullied, became homeless, felt victimised and fallen into abusive relationships. “I tried to complete sixth form. I became a jack of all trades – and had multiple day jobs. My youngest is one now so I’m not working.
“My daughter is 11 and she is so beautiful. I feel disgusted that anyone could want to do something like that to her.”
If you’re a survivor of child sexual abuse Injury Lawyers UK can help you get the justice and compensation you deserve. Our expert solicitors have over 20 years’ experience in dealing with abuse claims, call us on 0800 1123 156
:: Survivors of child sexual abuse who would like to share their experiences and put forward recommendations for change can get in touch with the Inquiry’s Truth Project. Visit www.truthproject.org.uk or email@example.com