Standing up for myself – my voice – a letter to a Senior Police Officer.

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I have debated sharing this letter with my followers but, as it is a part of my journey, a big part, a part where I am finally strong enough to stand up for myself, I feel the need to share this with you all.

As this is a letter I have written and sent to someone high up within the force, I have of course blacked out names, badge numbers and details so as not to harm my Police Case in any way.

However, this is a huge step for myself and other survivors and I feel it needs to be shared.

My Police Case is taking so long and it isn’t fair and I finally decided to speak up about it and write to somebody high up within the Police Force about how I have been treated. After five long years and over 7 different officers on my case, I need and deserve to be heard by somebody.

Whether they will help, whether this will change anything remains to be seen.

I know one thing for sure though, I am important, I do matter, I do have a voice…… and it is right here in this letter!
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Dear Sir,

I hope that you are well during this difficult and uncertain time. I was given your name via my contact at Victim Support. Please forgive me for the length of this letter but I have a lot to say.

My name is….. I am ….. years old, my DOB is …… (This should help you when looking for my case as I have not been given a case number) and I am currently involved in a Police Investigation against my …… for serious childhood sexual abuse.

The reason I am writing to you is because I am currently into the fifth year of the investigation and I still have no outcome. Not only this but there have been so many things happen during the course of this Police Investigation that I have struggled to cope with, that I feel I need to speak up about because I do not want another victim and survivor to have to go through the same when reporting their abusers .

I cannot really tell you details of my abuse in this letter due to the active investigation but if you look at my Police File you will see everything you need to see. The main point you need to know is, that having already reported when I was ….. and being sent back for the abuse to continue, I already felt failed by the police (I was silenced by members of my family, including ……… and therefore the abuse continued for many years so I was left to just endure it alone) before finding the courage to report him for the second time and having to try to trust the police all over again.

Anyway, fast forward years later to December…….. After years of harassment, memories, therapy and fear, this was the time that I decided that I had finally had enough. That I could not keep the secret any longer. That I had to protect other children from what he did to me. And so, one day, I walked into …….. Police Station and I reported what he had done to me. I told them I wanted to report him for childhood sexual abuse.

I knew that I was going to have to try to trust the very people who I felt had let me down so many years earlier, but what choice did I have? I could not let him harm another child.
I now feel foolish for believing yet again that I would be helped by the Police because five years later, here I am, writing to you.

 
In all honesty the past five years of this investigation have been a living hell.
In the beginning, I was assigned an OIC PC ………..(Badge ………..) and was taken through the first steps of the investigation and statements etc. This was hard enough but I was also having to try to trust a Police Officer after believing for years that the Police had not believed me. It was only during the course of the investigation that I found out about the ………………. Reports saying that I was believed when aged …… but that nothing was done.

During these first few months of the investigation and giving statements I was told that I would be informed as soon as my ……… was to be arrested.
When this eventually happened …………………………………………………………………. the first time they tried to arrest him they messed it up somehow. So I was told it was going to happen, only to then be told later that day that infact it had not happened. I was again having to wait for his arrest.
When it did eventually happen I was not told until afterwards that he had been arrested and was at the Police Station.

At this point I should add that this was the day that I had to cut my entire family out of my lives. My ……… made the decision to once again stand by him and so I lost contact with every single person within my family. But it was a sacrifice I knew I had to make to make sure that he would never hurt another child.
I was later informed by PC ……. that my ……………. had been released on bail.

I would also like to add at this point that during this whole time I was not given any support or advice in the form of knowing who to contact for support throughout the Police Investigation process. I found out about Victim Support and RCSAS ( Rape Crisis Sussex and Surrey) through my Psychiatrist. He did not want me to try to go through this process alone due to already suffering from severe CPSTD, as well as Depression and Anxiety, due to my trauma.

I was not given any guidance by the Police to lead me to any of these services that could help me and I had to reach out to them both by myself. Through Rape Crisis I was given a Therapist and an ISVA and I was also given a Support Worker at Victim Support. I can honestly tell you that if it were not for the support of both of these organisations I would have given up on this investigation many times over the years. They are one of the reasons that I am still pushing forward with this, to get them the recognition that they deserve because without them victims like myself would be swallowed up by the Justice System and left to fend for ourselves.

Throughout the first time of PC…………… being assigned to my case I managed to build a bond of trust with her. However, I must say the communication between herself and myself/my ISVA was not great. I understand that Police are busy and understaffed but leaving a victim sitting waiting at a meeting to just not show up and only giving us ten minutes notice is not acceptable behaviour. Especially when that meeting is of such a sensitive nature and to give statements etc. It just is not an acceptable way for a victim to be treated.

On ….. July …… PC …… went onto Maternity Leave. At this point myself and my ISVA were told that a new OIC called DC …………….. (Badge Number ……..) would be taking on the investigation. I was nervous about having to try to trust someone new but I couldn’t blame PC………. for having a baby and I was determined to see the investigation through, so I was willing to give this new officer a shot. We did however find out that DC……….. was on annual leave so we were told we would be liasing with someone called DS ………. (Badge Number………..). Someone else to try to trust.

However, on …. August ……., DS ………. asked whether I would be OK to have a male officer put on the case as DC ……… would no longer be taking the case. I did not want a male officer on my case. To be honest with you, putting a male OIC on with a female rape victim with severe CPTSD is something that I would say is not ideal for victims, but I was willing to do whatever it took to keep the case moving forward. So I said yes. DS ……………(Badge Number………..) was assigned to my case on the ….. September ……..

Now, please don’t get me wrong, DS ……. was a really nice officer. He really made an effort and kept to all his appointments. However, having to sit in a room by myself with him was not something that was easy for me. It was no fault of ………, he was just doing his job, but to put a male officer as the lead officer on a female serious child abuse/rape case and then have that victim sit in a room alone with that officer trying to give statements etc while suffering from severe CPTSD is just not the way that things should be done. I am an adult and I struggled to cope with that. In fact, I was an adult who was self-harming, which was known by the police at the time. What would happen if you had put…. year old me alone in a room with a male officer…? Or any vulnerable child who was a victim of rape alone in a room with a male officer? However, for the sake of the case I made every effort to trust ……. and believe in him helping me move forward with the case.

One year later in September……., ….. informed myself and my ISVA that he was leaving the …….. Branch to go and work at the Met. I was obviously happy for him however this again meant that I was going to be assigned yet another new officer to my case. On…… September …….., T/DC ……….. (Badge Number …….) met with us and was assigned to my case. Another OIC to try to trust.

However, on the……. October………, after several months of worrying about another new officer, I was then informed that PC……..(Badge Number………) had emailed my ISVA to say that she had returned to work and was again taking on my case. Mixed emotions at this point. I obviously had a bond with ……. what with her being the first OIC and taking my statements etc but I also struggled with the lack of communication and no shows etc. However, again, for the sake of the case, I was willing to accept the change.

Yet again however, just as I knew would happen, all my doubts were proven, when I was again left sitting at appointments and she was a no show. Myself and my ISVA went months without hearing anything at all. There may not be any updates on my case from the police or the CPS but being told that would help to put the anxiety of not knowing at bay.

A year of no show appointments and lack of communication later and my ISVA was told on the……. November …….. that…… was for some reason off long term. Neither of us had been informed that this was happening and we only found this out through the efforts of my ISVA at RCSAS continuously contacting the Police for some sort of communication. Why was I not informed? When I then asked who my new OIC would be nobody knew. Apparently none had been assigned to the case and instead we would be liasing with T/DS …… ……….(Badge Number ………) for the foreseeable future. Eventually we were informed that DC …….. (Badge Number…..) was assigned to my case.

Myself and my ISVA began arranging for a meeting with ……..so that I could meet her and get to know her. However on …… February 2020 DC…….. informed my ISVA that …….. would infact now be returning to work and taking my case back on as of….. February.

As you can imagine, I again had mixed emotions about this. Whilst I am always pleased to see ……back and I do have a bond with her, I was again worried about the communication and the change in officer again and the unreliability.

As you can see from all of the above I am five years into the investigation and have had at least 7 Officers assigned to my case. On top of this the case has been back and forth between the Police and the CPS so many times that I have lost count. I know this is not necessarily a bad thing because it means that the CPS must believe there is something for him to answer to if they are at least digging into things but the not knowing and not being kept informed of what is going on throughout the investigation is unbearable.

Myself and my ISVA heard from ……. recently only to discover that for the last few months nothing has been being done on my case and the actions the CPS have wanted done have not been being reviewed. Why has my case just been sitting until ……gets back? I understand that Police are understaffed and busy but really? It feels as if my case is just being forgotten about.

I should also add that although my…….. was originally released on bail with conditions not to come near me or my place of work, after only a few years, he was then taken off of bail because apparently he has human rights. That’s great, but what about my human rights? This man lives ten minutes from me, knows where I live, where I work and my daily routine and he was taken off of bail because of his human rights. What about mine? The Police even took back the emergency phone they gave me in case he came near me because the investigation was taking so long and I had had it for over a year. Don’t get me wrong, I am glad that someone else who is in a vulnerable position gets to feel safe by having that phone with them, however, that was the only thing making me feel safe when I walked the streets and they took it back without any notice. If it were not for the rape alarm that Victim Support gave me, a lot of therapy to help me get stronger through Rape Crisis, a banning order that work have provided, and a supportive partner, I would not feel able to walk the streets as well as I do right now. I am constantly looking over my shoulder.

I am also constantly on edge every single day waiting for the phone call to tell me that the case is finally back at the CPS permanently and that they are going to make a decision whether to charge him or not to charge him. For anyone going through what I am, living and waiting for that phone call every day is awful, but when you suffer from severe anxiety like I do, it is hell.

I have nobody to help me through this anymore. Because the investigation is taking so long, my therapy with Rape Crisis had to stop. They are only meant to provide a year and had already stretched it to two years for me. Because the investigation is taking so long, I cannot have therapy with them again until if/when a decision is reached about whether to charge him. It isn’t there fault. It is down to funding. I had some support from Life Centre for a while, but again, because the investigation is taking so long, because of funding, my therapy had to end. Now I have no therapist. Just my Psychiatrist to provide my Medicine to help with my nightmares and flashbacks and Depression, that I get to see once every three months if I am lucky.

I also had to take a huge step down at work. I was a Manager of a Toy Store for ten years. Two years into the investigation I had to take a step down to Supervisor Level because running a store and coping with the investigation became too much. So I chose to put the investigation first. To make sure that I did everything I could to get justice for not only myself, but also the other children that I know that monster has hurt over the years. I had to take a huge pay cut and have ended up in debt trying to pay for therapy and manage my mortgage etc. But I was willing to do it to stop him hurting another child. Little did I know then that five years later this is where I would be and I would still have no outcome. That I would be living though another type of hell all over again trying to put that monster away and instead of feeling supported by the justice system, so far I am feeling let down by it, just like I did when I was…. years old.

My only saving grace is that throughout all of this, I have found a strength inside me that I never knew existed. A strength to survive. I stopped self-harming for the first time in over twenty years and I created a blog to document my story, my truth, my journey to justice and recovery, to help other victims and survivors know that they are not alone. I found a strength within me, a determination that overrides the fear of him, to make sure that he gets put away for what he has done so that he can no longer hurt innocent children. If I don’t speak up against him who will? I am turning my pain into power and I will use my voice to tell my story and help victims in the future.

So please can you find out why my case is taking so long? Do I not matter enough to someone to be given decent communication and an explanation? Do I not deserve an apology for the time this case is taking? I cannot move forward with my life. This hangs over me every single day. I should matter to someone!

I would also like to recommend that any Police Officer put onto a case dealing with any sort of Rape or Abuse victim has some sort of training with regards to PTSD. None of the Officers that have been on my case have had any real training or experience in dealing with people with severe PTSD due to such trauma. I do understand such training requires money and a budget but there must be money somewhere from the Government to put some sort of training in place. Or at least an argument for it? Are your officers ever spoken to by someone who has been through what I have other than if they are involved in an investigation? I bet the answer to this is probably no, and I can tell you that just me myself, as well as many other victims in my shoes, would be able to offer you and your team an insight that you just cannot have unless you have been through something like I, like we, have. Do you or your team know how to sensitively handle a rape victim who has Depression or who suffers PTSD and (thankfully in my case used to) cuts themselves to survive? Would any of you know the right things to say to those victims? Again, I bet the answer is no. Something needs to change. Please.

I also ask if you can commit to trying to find some way to make sure that resourcing in the future will ensure that cases are not left just dangling when there is staff turnover. There needs to be support for departments to reduce that turnover and there needs to be ways to ensure continuity of case progression when an officer goes off on long term sick unexpectedly. Please, I am only one person, one voice, all I can do is raise my voice and speak up for the hundreds, thousands of others like me and tell you just how badly we are affected by these investigations and being treated so poorly. You are the man who can listen and try to do something about it. Please, I am begging you to listen to me and to hear me.

I know this letter to you is long. However, after being silenced for over thirty years I have a lot to say and I am grateful to you for taking the time to read this. I just feel like I am continuously being forgotten about and after already being forgotten about so many times during my life, during my childhood, I need to speak up and raise my voice and my concerns for the way both myself and other victims of this heinous crime are being handled by the Police and the rest of the justice system. If no one speaks up, nothing will change.

Five years is a really long time to be reliving the worst time of your life. To be waiting, to be pushed back and forth, not know what is going on. To be forgotten about all over again because people are too busy. The thing that hurts the most is that if I were someone famous, if I mattered to the world out there, the way my case has been handled would be completely different. A decision would already be made and my case would be over by now. But the truth is, I don’t matter to the outside world or to the justice system, and nor do any of the other victims living through the same process I am. We aren’t important enough to be put first and we know it.

Well I am here to tell you Sir, that we are important, we do matter and we do have a voice. Just because we have been silenced for so long doesn’t mean that our cases should be left in a pile and forgotten about for six months until somebody remembers to pick it up. So please, I am begging you to just take some time to look into my case and see what is happening, see why it is taking so long and why I am being forgotten because sooner or later there will be a victim who backs out because they feel forgotten, or who cuts too deeply and kills themselves because of the flashbacks, and then your suspects, the monsters you want behind bars because of our evidence, they will be back to do it all over again. Just like that another child will have their innocence stolen because of a failed justice system.

I thank you again for taking the time to read this letter and look forward to hopefully hearing back from you when you have some time.
Kind Regards,
……………..
A Victim and Survivor

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** Thanks for reading – I hope this helps another survivor speak up when you know you are not being treated correctly **
** Image courtesy of Google Images **

One thought on “Standing up for myself – my voice – a letter to a Senior Police Officer.

  1. Great letter! Hopefully you will soon receive an answer to your request for an update, and a decision regarding the future of this case – YOUR future!!!!! You certainly deserve to be treated with respect, and to receive justice!
    I am so proud of you for respecting yourself, and persisting in your determination to shine a strong light on illegal, heinous, totally unacceptable behaviour!!!! The police are the organization tasked with clearing criminals from the general population, working with witnesses and victims to bring support, restitution… and JUSTICE!!!! You are certainly doing your part, and they need to do theirs!
    Keep holding their ’feet to the fire’…

    Like

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