September 2013

Child sex abuse victim: ‘I’ll never trust men again’


A WOMAN says the trauma of being sexually abused by a social worker at the age of 14 has left her unable to trust any man around her children – including their father.

The mum, who was abused at Moorfield Children’s Home in Sinfin, said she even refused to let her husband bath their baby daughter.

She said her insecurities – born out of her harrowing ordeal – led to her marriage breaking down.

On Friday, it was revealed the woman, who cannot be identified, had agreed a £15,000 compensation package from Derbyshire County Council, which ran the children’s home when the abuse took place.

The woman – known as “M” – revealed how the attack had affected her life since.

She said: “I’ve been very over-protective of my children. My first child was a daughter and I never allowed her father to bath her or change her nappy.

“That’s a normal thing for a father to do but I would not allow him to. It drove quite a big wedge between us. We’ve since split up.

“I’ve told my children what they should do if anyone touches them. I’ve said to them, ‘you scream, you shout, you kick and keep doing it until someone hears you’. “They wondered why I was telling them this so I told them what happened to me.

“The abuse I suffered has had a huge effect on me. I still need counselling because of it.”

M had been watching television on Christmas Day when the social worker, Richard Carey, sat beside her and carried out the abuse.

He was jailed about a decade later for eight years after being convicted of a series of sexual offences – including against M, whose allegation was not believed at first.

The trial heard he placed a blanket over himself and M to conceal what was happening.

M – who is now living in Birmingham – said the months that followed the abuse were “hell”.

She said: “He had worked there for a long time and his wife was one of the people in charge there, so no-one would believe me.

“There was a cover-up. It was allowed to be swept under the carpet.

“I did not have anyone alongside me, like a family member, when I spoke about what had happened. It was just me – there was no-one there to stop the cover-up.

“My advice to anyone making a complaint is to make sure they are represented by someone they trust.”

Asked about how she felt at not being believed, M said: “It was horrible. I was treated like a leper. None of the male staff wanted me around them because they were afraid I would accuse them of something. I lost out on a lot of trips – even the simple things like going off to the shop I could not go on.

“I left around three months after it happened because I didn’t feel I could stay there any more. Everything had changed.”

M had sought compensation after Carey was convicted. However, the law at that time imposed a strict time limit for bringing cases – and hers was considered to be out of time.

Since then, the law has changed so that historical cases can still be brought.

M revealed she did not have to fight the council to receive her £15,000 settlement.

She said: “The council were quite willing to pay. At first they offered me £5,000, which was declined. Straight away they offered £15,000, which was accepted. They were very apologetic about what had happened.

“The settlement will now help me move on to the next stage of my life and will mean I can get further specialist help and advice on issues that just wouldn’t be affecting me if it wasn’t for the abuse.

“It has been a weight around my shoulders for so long and I have battled to make a success of my life.

“I’m incredibly inspired by people who have the courage to speak up about abuse they have suffered and hope that letting people know what happened to me might inspire others to help come to terms with what has happened to them.

“I am lucky to now have the support of my children and they have been a great help in dealing with everything over the past few years.”

Following the £15,000 settlement, a county council spokesman said: “This should never have happened and we’ve met with this lady to apologise to her personally and see what we can do to help her face the future.

“The safety and welfare of children in our care is our priority and we’ve reassured this lady that the way children in care are looked after and protected has changed and improved dramatically since the 1980s – both locally and nationally.

“The criminal actions of this individual employee were totally unacceptable and do not reflect the usual high professional standards and care of our social workers, past or present.

“We hope this brave woman can rebuild her life and we will continue to offer her any support we can.”