My name is David Harries and I am 38 years old and a survivor of child abuse. When I was 5/6 I used to climb out of my bedroom window and run away because of the abuse I was getting off my drunk father. I told my primary teachers of all the nasty things my dad was doing, it was all physical abuse very violent and very cruel/wicked. Social services were aware but never intervened for another three and half years which led me to get more damaged.
The Western Trust has called on local people to help them protect children from “horrific” sexual abuse and exploitation.
The Trust has been hosting workshops with taxi drivers, local hoteliers and others, it has emerged, as part of a campaign to promote child safety in Derry and across the Western region.
Kieran Downey, Western Trust Director of Women and Children’s Services, said the issue remained one of its key priorities.
He was speaking after the publication of Professor Kathleen Marshall’s report into Child Sexual Exploitation across the north.
Announcing the findings on Tuesday, Health Minister Jim Wells said that the scale of abuse here remained unclear because of it’s hidden nature.
Mr Downey meanwhile said that the abuse of children highlighted in the report “affects young people in our society and is very much a community safety issue”.
He said: “The safety and protection of children remains a fundamental priority for the Western Trust and social workers exhibit great commitment and dedication on a daily basis to ensure this remains the case.”
Calling on local people to help to identify incidents of child sexual exploitation, Mr Downey said: “The Trust cannot address this horrendous abuse without the help of the wider community.
“Everyone has a role in preventing Child Sexual Exploitation and helping to safeguard children.
“Raising awareness of this type of abuse is essential. As a Trust we have provided local training to professionals and organised a number of local community workshops, to help highlight what can be done to keep our children and young people safe.
“The attendance at the workshops included community groups, hoteliers and taxi drivers amongst others.
“The Western Trust Gateway Service is the first point of contact for anyone who is concerned about a Child or Young Person.
The Gateway team can be contacted by calling the following number 028 71314090. This is a single Trust wide number.”
The Trust assurances come after Health Minister Jim Wells said a major Inquiry into child sexual abuse has found no evidence of organised abuse here on a similar scale or nature to that experienced in parts of England.
The Minister however said that punishment shootings and beatings meted out to children by paramilitaries were believed by many to be a form of child exploitation distinct to the north.
Mr Wells announced the findings of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) on Tuesday morning.
In an Oral Statement to the Northern Ireland Assembly, the Minister said that it had been difficult to establish the prevalence of sexual exploitation, mainly as a result of its hidden nature and under-reporting.
He said that there was no evidence of organised exploitation like the horrific abuse uncovered in Rochdale and Rotherham.
The report was commissioned last year by Mr Wells’ predecessor Edwin Poots, with Kathleen Marshall appointed to lead it. The Inquiry team was tasked to come up with recommendations.
Speaking to the Assembly, Mr Wells said: “On the nature and extent of CSE in Northern Ireland, the Inquiry concludes that it is not new and it takes different forms, as it does throughout the UK, but there are particular Northern Ireland dimensions to it.
“A number of individuals expressed an ardent plea that the Inquiry should speak up about the paramilitary dimension to CSE.
“Individuals believed to be members of, or linked to, paramilitary groups used that authority and the fear it engendered to exploit children and young people. The Inquiry was told very clearly that paramilitary influence may cause and facilitate CSE. Within communities it can build upon loyalty and fear.
“While we do not know the full extent of CSE in Northern Ireland, we can say there are no findings in this Inquiry that point to the type of organised exploitation seen in Rotherham or Rochdale; nor does it have the same ethnic minority dimension. There is no evidence in the report to suggest cover-up, corruption or lack of commitment on the part of agencies or individuals.
The Inquiry Report contains 17 key recommendations and a further 60 supporting recommendations.
A number of the recommendations are already being progressed, including a new child safeguarding policy and a planned review of the Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland.
Justice Minister David Ford said the Inquiry was clear that child sexual exploitation was happening in Northern Ireland and that it takes many forms.
He said: “I would encourage anyone affected by this issue who wishes to seek support to contact the NSPCC Helpline for victims. This Helpline is set up to assist anyone wishing to raise concerns about child sexual exploitation. The dedicated Helpline number is 0800 3891701.”
THE mother of a teenage boy who was groomed and sexually assaulted by a known paedophile while they fished on Worthing Pier has spoken of her son’s “anger” at what happened.
Reginald Collins, 62, of Freehold Street, Shoreham, was jailed on Monday for four years.
The mother, who we are not naming to protect her son’s identity, said: “I think it is a good result and I am glad the justice system has taken it seriously.
“But I bet you he is getting more support in prison than the support that is available to my son. It has affected him big time.
“I think he needs help for the anger that it has caused, but that help is very hard to get.
“They gave me a rape card to ring but that is not what we need. He just needs to talk about his emotions and the anger that this has made him feel. It is a trust thing and he bottled it up for so long. He did not know what to do about it. He was embarrassed that it happened to him.”
She was concerned about a change in her son’s behaviour in May and then found text messages on his phone from ‘Reg’.
Her son told police how Collins had touched him inappropriately at the pier. Police arrested Collins, who had been on licence for other child sex offences until August 2013. He pleaded guilty to one count of sexual assault and one count of grooming.
Targeted Sentencing Collins at Chichester Crown Court on Monday, Judge Christopher Parker QC said he had “deliberately targeted” the teenager and “used his interest in fishing to gain his attention and, to some extent, his trust”.
He said Collins would serve two-thirds of his 48-month jail term, followed by ten years on licence.
The victim’s mother said she hoped his sentencing would show other victims it was worth “finding the strength to report” sexual offences. But she said her son was now reluctant to fish on the pier, previously something he loved to do. She also called for complete CCTV coverage of the pier.
For many of us the first week of this new year will be a week none of us will forget, and if this is a taste of things to come, we have to prepare ourselves.
It started on Thursday morning 3rd January by this article in the guardian written by Jon Henley and was further commented on by Damian Thompson from the telegraph the title of which ‘ Paedophiles are ‘ordinary members of society’ who need moral support did something to me, which I find very difficult to put into words, I can only say it acted as a trigger, one I have not felt in a very long time, the urge to harm myself!!
(Many people who self-harm (and those that don’t!) find it incredibly difficult to ascertain exactly why they self-harm. Many have no idea why they are doing it – just that it is something that they feel compelled to do. Obviously, carrying out such behaviour without understanding why, can be very confusing and can leave us feeling like we are “crazy” or out of control this often results in feelings of guilt. These self-deprecating thoughts can result in the need to further self-harm, and hence we get locked into a cycle that is very difficult to break out of.)
As a result of what I had read I lost control for the first time in almost 15 years, first I tried to phone some friends, who were not at home, making me feel more along and enraged, so I started picking open a wound in my leg which was caused by a lumpectomy nearly a month previously! The pain was excruciating, but I carried on until slowly the mental pain began to subside, as the physical pain took over.
(Control is important to most survivors. We experience fear when we feel we have no control. With self-harm, you can often have some limited control over the type of pain you experience and when you experience it. It is important to survivors that they have control over their body and their emotions, and self-injury helps to prove that we still have some control because “Self-injury is a pain I can control”)
The following day I had to go to the hospital and have the wound in my leg re-stitched, but first of all I had to explain what had happened, and why I had done what I had done!
I cant tell you the shame that I felt, that this stranger Jon Henley could have such an effect over me! and even more so when I realise his piece was based on information given by a known Paedophile Tom O’Caroll
Will my mental wounds ever heal, will I one day become free of my abuser who took my innocence when I was just 6 years old? to these questions I have no answer, but I can tell you that as long as I live, I for one will never accept that sexual abuse of children can have a positive effect on their lives. Thank you for taking the time to read and understand me xxx
A 34-YEAR-OLD man, who downloaded and shared 800 child pornographic images and 1,200 videos has been jailed for two and a half years.
David Parish of Millfield, Sittingbourne, was sentenced yesterday at Maidstone Crown Court after pleading guilty to 10 charges following a Kent Police investigation.
Last July, he was charged with two counts of making indecent images of children, two counts of distributing indecent images of children, possession of extreme images and five counts of possession of indecent images with a view to distribute.
Judge Michael Carroll, on passing his sentence, told the court: “You were an enthusiastic participant in this evil exchange. Young children being sexually abused for the demand of adults will not be tolerated.”
More than 800 indecent images of children and more than 1,200 movies of footage, featuring children being abused, were seized from his home, which he downloaded and later shared with other computer users.
Jo Gordon, Detective Constable, from the child exploitation investigation team at Kent Police, said: “Parish not only downloaded indecent images of children, but actively shared them with others, thus encouraging further offending, and further adding to the misery that is suffered by the victims. He had in excess of four days worth of videos, demonstrating an insatiable appetite for footage of children being abused. Such people are clearly a danger, and I am pleased that the child exploitation investigation team has been able to put a stop to his dangerous behaviour.”
Parish will also appear on the sex offenders’ register indefinitely, and will be subject to a sexual offences prevention order.
by Sam Payne This is kent
A FORMER schoolteacher has been jailed for using his role as a rugby coach to exploit a teenage boy and subject him to a catalogue of sexual abuse
Keith Ruby was found guilty of 16 sexual offences against the youngster by a jury in December, and today (Fri) a judge has sentenced him to 10 years in jail.
The court had heard that the 36-year-old had met the teenager, who was a promising young rugby player, when he was teaching at the prestigious Sidcot School near Winscombe in 2004.
Ruby developed a relationship with the youngster, who cannot be named for legal reasons, when the pupil was 12.
The trigger for the abuse was the victim’s realisation that he was gay, which he shared in confidence with Ruby, who started asking him questions about his sexuality and then began physically molesting him.
The abuse started when the victim was 14 and lasted for about a year. It took place during massage sessions at the victim’s home, in the changing rooms at both Weston and Winscombe rugby clubs and on an overseas rugby trip.
The court was told Ruby, of Biddisham Lane in Biddisham, had worked himself into a position of trust with the victim’s family, who had believed he was giving their son one-on-one sessions to further his development as a rugby player.
Although a police investigation was launched in February 2006 after allegations about the abuse came to light, the final offence occurred after the investigation was launched.
The initial investigation collapsed in July 2006, but a fresh probe was launched in 2011 when the victim told his parents about the catalogue of abuse.
Ruby denied all 20 allegations relating to the victim, but on December 6 the jury at Taunton found him guilty by majority verdict of 11 counts of engaging in sexual activity with a child and five counts of penetrative sexual activity with a child.
They found him not guilty of two counts of causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity and two counts of sexual assault on a child under 13.
The Mercury had been prevented on reporting on the trial and its outcome by a court order, which was lifted this morning.
Ruby was also handed a sexual offences prevention order, forced to sign the sex offences register for life and has been placed on a barring list to prevent him from working with children again in the future.