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Historic abuse

(18 Posts)
gingersquirrels Mon 15-Jun-15 10:34:51

Regular poster with a name change here. Please could someone tell me what evidence is required for police and CPS to proceed with historical sexual abuse charges if I make a report?

I have been under the impression that my memories are too jumbled and incomplete to make a report. I know enough to be sure that this person did inappropriate things, but not enough to feel able to report. I remember some things kind of in flashes. I also have 'body memory' flashbacks and physical symptoms seemingly relating to things I can't remember.

I can't say exactly what did and didn't happen, exactly when it happened (because it's not like I thought to write down the date at the time), how old I was, how many times it happened or when it stopped, so I don't believe I have enough to go on.

With some things the evidence is purely circumstantial. For example I have many symptoms of having been forced to give oral, but all of these on their own can be viewed as circumstantial.

People say sex abusers should be reported, but how am I supposed to report when I know they probably won't proceed with the case? A lot of the evidence is purely circumstantial, although it builds up an overall picture. There are family members who could also confirm parts of this, but probably wouldn't, I suspect they'd refuse or lie (dysfunctional/toxic family dynamic).

I spoke to a lawyer a while back to get some advice and he said that in his experience everyone remembers. I said that's because the people who don't remember don't usually phone you, do they? But there are a lot of people out there who believe all that crap about false memory syndrome. People in my family are aware that I started seeing a therapist and will no doubt claim the therapist planted the idea (not the case).

Please be gentle with your responses. The perpetrator is a family member and I have had to walk away from my entire family. I don't doubt that they would close ranks and side with the abuser if I reported.

Also, please don't comment on the above symptoms and evidence unless you are informed about the signs and after effects of abuse. Random passers by wanting to tell me I might be wrong or making it up, please refrain. Thank you.

Mumoftwoyoungkids Mon 15-Jun-15 11:20:59

I don't know about abuse but I do know a little bit about trauma and memory as I once had a boyfriend who, as a child, was the victim of a completely unprovoked and very serious assault by an adult. The adult received about 10 years in prison for it.

He was about 10 and has no memory of it actually happening or of about 2 months afterwards (when he was in hospital receiving various lots of surgery). He remembers lots of other stuff at that time (including the day it happened) so it isn't that he was too young to remember.

Not remembering doesn't seem at all surprising to me.

gingersquirrels Mon 15-Jun-15 11:45:51

I really appreciate the validation, thank you flowers

Lonecatwithkitten Mon 15-Jun-15 12:44:56

Not sexual abuse, but my DD was verbally abused by Ex and his GF. Even relatively recent she could verbalise all the details for a variety of reasons. What she could remember was consistent and she was believed.

hiddenhome Mon 15-Jun-15 22:03:34

I have excellent recall and gave details to the police which went into my statements, but the CPS weren't interested due to lack of evidence or witnesses hmm

gingersquirrels Tue 16-Jun-15 09:49:12

I'm sorry to hear that Hidden. They did have a witness: you.

It sounds like there's bog-all point me reporting and I just feel so caught.

I spoke to the NSPCC, just to ask if it was all really abuse. They said: you really need to call police about this, but you will need to tell them everything that happened. They seemed to think I had more details.

The NSPCC think I should report, society assumes I should report. But nothing will come of it if I do. It's all circumstantial. I have no proof.

So I can't report, I can't ever get justice or compensation (mental health issues have affected my ability to work but would no doubt be held against me). I don't want to go through it if there's no chance of it progressing.

But still there are people who would guilt trip me for not reporting.

mindalina Tue 16-Jun-15 10:03:37

Hello, I am in a similar position, just trying to pluck up the courage to call the police station to get the ball rolling. Do you have a Sexual Assault Referral Centre near you? You can self refer and they will make you an appointment with an Independent Sexual Violence Advisor. She will be able to talk you through the reporting/court process which may help you decide whether you want to report or not. Sexual abuse is a trauma and trauma causes memory problems - the professionals are well aware of this and will take it into account. I have very fuzzy memories of my abuse, I cannot put a time frame on it without outside assistance and only remember clearly maybe three or four incidents, but my ISVA says that is not a problem in pursuing a conviction. I was given a book called Report to Court - you may be able to find this online it has been helpful reading. I think you should only report if you think it is worth doing for you. That might be because you think reporting will bring you closure or because you just want it on record that this person is an abuser (even if no charges are brought your account will stay on the system to be cross-referenced if more allegations are ever made). But it is going to be hard so if you think it's not worth it for you that's ok too. You are the most important person in this situation so you do what you need to do to get through. And remember that you are pretty great to have made it this far already. I am really sorry that you are going through this because it's utterly shit. flowers

gingersquirrels Tue 16-Jun-15 10:21:15

Hi mindalina, my nearest sarc is in another county and not somewhere I can afford to travel to. I don't remember anything clearly, just enough to know there's stuff I'm not remembering. A lot of it seems to have happened while I was asleep (have some evidence for this but will rely on third parties to corroborate).

I'm sorry you're going through this as well flowers

gingersquirrels Tue 16-Jun-15 10:23:26

Just found and emailed an ISVA in my local area, through Rape Crisis. Thank you for the suggestion to do that, it's appreciated.

mindalina Tue 16-Jun-15 11:00:06

I'm glad you have found someone nearby who may be able to help you. The lady I spoke to was fantastic, really kind and compassionate and helpful on a practical level also. She kept repeating that I will be believed, which was so good to hear as I struggled with that for years. They are professionals and they've seen it all before, they know we're telling the truth.

Sometimes I think the not-remembering is the worst - something was said to me recently which made it apparent there's at least one incident I have no recollection of and it really knocked me for six for a couple of days. It's very distressing. I hope you have some support at home.

You have spurred me on - I am "lucky" (as much as anyone of us can be in this position!) and have a couple of bits of quite good evidence so am determined to pursue this, but have been dithering over making the 101 call for about three weeks because it just seemed so major. Having posted to you I suggested to myself I take my own advice and do what's right for me, so I made the call to 101, and now I have an appointment tomorrow to go and speak to an officer.

I hope the ISVA gets back to you soon and is able to help x

gingersquirrels Tue 16-Jun-15 11:05:25

Well done for calling 101, you've done brilliantly. I really hope it goes well. I'd be careful posting any more about it (not sure of the rules) but I wish you luck x

mindalina Tue 16-Jun-15 11:12:51

Yes you're right - I don't know what the rules are either but I will be very careful now. Thank you gingersquirrels, I hope so too. And I hope you find the support you need to move forward in whatever way helps you the most. x

gingersquirrels Tue 16-Jun-15 11:14:18

Thank you. X

Sigma33 Tue 16-Jun-15 11:25:37

I reported abuse from someone in a position of trust via NSPCC about 20 years after. I was groomed so had no evidence it was not consensual, no physical evidence at all. But I found out he was in a position to groom other vulnerable teens (because he won an award for being so 'caring'). It was a couple of yearsafter iI found out... but I emailed NSPCC while drunk.

They asked my permission to pass the info on to the police officer responsible in that area. After a great deal of worry and fear about not being believed I agreed.

I am so glad I did. This police officer believed me 100%.

Apparently the law has been changed since - what he did would be a crime now, but may or may not have been at the time, depending on various details. Police officer explained the sorts of details that would be needed, but also found out that the person involved was no longer working with vulnerable teens.

The most amazing thing for me was that the police officer stated that what this man did was completely wrong, and believed me.

He gave me the choice of whether to take things further - it was within my control. There would be notes made on what I had said, and it would be shared between agencies to flag up if necessary, as a concern.

I chose not to, but am finally at peace about it. I had various counsellors tell me it wasn't my fault, but could always say 'well of course they would say that'. Somehow getting this response from the police helped me to believe it.

I doubt I could have given enough facts for a prosecution. But I reported him and was believed.

BTW this was all by email as I now live overseas. That helped. It was less intense than a face to face conversation.

CorBlimeyTrousers Tue 16-Jun-15 11:37:20

I'm so sorry this happened to you. I don't have experience although I can well believe that your mind might in some way try to protect you from having clear memories of the abuse. Also that it's normal for childhood memories to be hazy - my sister will describe events from our childhood that I can't remember at all (not abuse, just general memories).

I hope you can come to a decision that's right for you. I hope the experiences shared above have been helpful. I don't think it would be a waste of time for you to report even if there's not enough evidence for a prosecution because your evidence could be kept on file and used together with evidence from others in the future. Or the Police might already have evidence from other people and your experience could be the missing piece to get a conviction.

But I agree with the poster above, you must do what's right for you.

Take care.

gingersquirrels Tue 16-Jun-15 11:59:19

Thanks folks. I've also just rung the Lucy Faithfull charity for advice and they've been infinitely more helpful than any other charity I've spoken to.

Sigma I'm so glad you were believed and that it helped.

TracyBarlow Tue 16-Jun-15 23:17:23

ginger I don't really have much advice but I did want to wish you all the best of luck whatever you decide to do.

And also bear in mind that even if you can't fully remember what happened, your evidence could build up a picture of this man so that if others have reported him in the past, or do so in the future, the CPS are more likely to build a successful case.

sadwidow28 Wed 17-Jun-15 01:19:50

If you feel you need further help/support then I strongly recommend NAPAC (National Association for People Abused in Childhood)

napac.org.uk/survivors-2/

Call free on 0808 801 0331 from landlines or mobile networks

Email: support@napac.org.uk

Click on the link above and look on the right of the page of resources for survivors. I think two you would particularly benefit from reading as you work through the process are:

- Untangling the Web of Confusion
- The Legal Process Explained

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