After Reporting Non-Recent Abuse: A Personal Journey Pt1
One of the most difficult thing for an adult survivor of Childhood abuse to do is disclose what happened to him as a child, and the impact it has had on his life.
Often this first disclosure is to a friend, a medical professional or partner. Going to the Police and making a ‘formal complaint’ is another thing altogether. This is particularly true when the survivor had good reasons for believing that there is little or no chance of the abuser being brought ‘to book’ and a ‘good’ ending to the experience.
So having recently made that step to not only disclose but to make the formal complaint I want to share the journey.
I disclosed two weeks ago, on Saturday 25th Feb 2017. I wasn’t sure what I expected to happen but not what has so far happened, or failed to happen.
The original contact via email resulted in a phone call being agreed with the Hampshire Police contact enter. On that call I gave the basic details including my belief that they would ‘struggle’ to find sufficient evidence to progress my compliant as well as letting them know that I had already been interviewed by Hampshire Social Services, because I had disclosed to that the person who abused me still fostered.
We read that the Police are sensitive to the needs of Adult survivors and that we can have confidence in them to treat disclosures sensitively and with due regard to the needs of survivors. Indeed the Hampshire police web site says
“It is our aim to deal with all abuse cases in a sensitive and professional manner, no matter how long ago they took place. ”
This is important to survivors, they, we, I have difficulties as a result of the abuse and the subsequent control exhibited to make sure we don’t talk as children. It leaves us vulnerable to adverse mental health impacts where our particular issues and concerns are not taken into consideration.
When a parent is the abuser these issues are exacerbated by a lack of trust, ability to trust, authority and commonly a lack of family support. In disclosing to the Police, an authority that may well have been used against us by our abuser in threats to keep us under control, the survivor is taking a step into both the unknown and i9nto a place they have learnt to fear, existential fear.
So What Has Happened
The contact centre person who I talked to, and gave my original statement to was both professional, understanding and curious. He gave me confidence that my disclosure was important and would be taken seriously.
No confirmation that the complaint is being processed.
No update on what’s happening, even to the extent of not even being told that its been referred to an individual / team for investigation.
No information on possible support /
Not even an indication that it is even in the system.
Now I accept, given the time frame, the lack of evidence and then previous investigation by Social Services that didn’t find any evidence to support further action that my complaint isn’t going to be given top priority.
But as far as I can see at the moment it isn’t even being taken seriously, and that the difficulties and risk to mental and physical health that making such a report entails are of no consideration to Hampshire Police.
To be fair, I didn’t have much in the way of positive expectation of the Police, but how can they ask, and expect, adult survivors to come forward when even the basics don’t seem to be part of their ethos?