The Truth Project

The Truth Project was set up in 2015 (as part of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse) to offer victims and survivors of child sexual abuse the chance to share their experiences and be heard in a respectful way. The aim was to provide recommendations to the government and institutions for changes in how to protect children in the future. 

Another aim was to use the information provided to help with research into how it affects people in order to provide a better understanding in society and to provide a greater education and more open conversations around the effects of child sexual abuse.  It is also hoped that it will assist in encouraging more victims and survivors to come forward to share their experiences and to help them find support.

Since its commencement, nearly 5,500 people have disclosed instances of sexual abuse and the lifelong effects this has had on them as well as the barriers they have faced coming forwards such as fears of not being believed, of stigma or simply not being able to describe what was happening to them.

A common theme throughout the disclosures was the negative impact on mental health with differing issues being reported by individuals including depression, difficulties with relationships including trust and intimacy issues, as well as avoidance or phobic reactions to sexual intimacy.  Others reported an impact on their academic abilities and physical issues (such as pregnancy, physical injury and sexually transmitted diseases).

Feedback from participants regarding their experiences with the Truth Project include:

  • “Whilst the abuse I endured as a child was horrendous, the impact it had on my adult life has been far reaching, and the impact my destructive behaviour had on my loved ones has been catastrophic. Abuse never stops when it stops. It’s important that victims and survivors can share their experience if they wish to do so, and the Truth Project provides a supportive opportunity to come forward, free from judgement. I hope the accounts shared can help to contribute to a more open conversation about the impact of abuse. It’s vital that survivors’ voices are heard.”
  • “So grateful I was given this opportunity to attend the Truth Project. For the first time in 50 years I felt I was believed; I was treated with the utmost respect by all involved.”
  • “They stole so much from me that cannot be fixed when they abused me. But with this Inquiry comes renewed hope; hope that whilst we cannot stop child sexual abuse, we can learn how to limit it, and how to support those affected by it when it does happen. This will undoubtedly save lives.

The Truth Project will be drawing to a close in October 2021 and anyone who has been subjected to child sexual abuse is encouraged to share their experience before it closes.  There are a number of ways to do this including in writing or arranging a telephone/video call.

The Truth Project also offers a support service that provides a dedicated support worker to assist in sharing experiences and who can also offer support for a period of time afterwards and/or can recommend local support services.  Further information regarding how to get in contact and what to expect can be found at https://www.truthproject.org.uk/share-your-experience.

A final report will be published in 2022 with findings and recommendations to help improve child protection.

Written by Suzanne Houghton
suzanne.houghton@blmlaw.com

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