People we’ve helped

In 2021, we offered immediate support to over 8,443 people affected by crime in West Yorkshire, and gave in-depth support to more than 3,122 people.

These real life stories show how people who’ve used our services have moved forward after crime.

In June 2019 the Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVA) team took a call from Allan, a 65-year-old male. He explained that he’d been placed in the care of Catholic Reform Schools in Scotland in the 1960s. While there Allan was the victim of both physical and sexual abuse in four different institutions.

Allan was allocated a male ISVA who began by contacting Police Scotland on his behalf. They also started advocating around housing and benefits in the Leeds area where he now lived.

It emerged that Allan was part of a large scale police operation covering the whole of Scotland. The ISVA helped to get regular updates on his case throughout the prolonged investigation. They liaised with the Procurator Fiscals office, the Scottish Court system and the Scottish Enquiry to Sexual Abuse, including the support services they provided.

Through providing updates and continued support, the ISVA developed a good relationship with Allan. So much so that Allan asked that the ISVA go with him for his cross examination at the High Court.  This trip was funded by the Scottish Court system.

The case was finally heard in December 2021 and the defendant, now an 80-year-old monk, was found guilty of all charges against him. He was sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment.

At the conclusion of the case, the ISVA gave information to Allan to help him claim compensation.

The Scottish press provided high-profile coverage of the case and Allan was quoted in a number of newspapers.

Quote from Daily Record 9 March 2019:

“Every time Allan looks at his left hand, he is transported back 55 years to the darkest period of his life.  The lorry driver’s missing little finger is a daily reminder of the horrific abuse he suffered in a residential boys’ home in Fife in the 1960s.  The 65-year old lost the digit aged 11 as he tried desperately to escape a rapist priest.

“Now more than five decades later, Allan, who lives in Leeds, has found the courage to speak for the first time about his experiences… And he hopes his testimony will encourage other victims to come forward and help prevent similar abuse in the future.”

Ben (not his real name) is a 14-year-old male who was referred to us after becoming a victim of child sexual exploitation (CSE).

Ben had been on a chat website and was encouraged by adult users to perform sex acts while they watched. Ben and his mum were both greatly impacted by this. Ben has autism and ADHD and these disabilities made it harder for him to cope.

We supported Ben with his anxiety and thoughts of self-blame. Ben believed the incident was his fault as he’d accessed the website. We were able to help him see that it was the fault of the perpetrators.

We found grounding techniques and methods to help him calm down when having a panic attack and increase his self-confidence. Ben hit all the targets we set, such as:

  • writing a diary
  • reaching out to family for support
  • staying safe online
  • expressing his emotions through art
  • building his confidence to such a standard that he felt able to cope and live a normal life again.

We also worked with Ben to write a letter to his MP about the dangers of the website, which empowered him and let him have his say.

We were able to support Ben’s mum in finding art therapy for him and provided information on other counselling services. We enabled her to effectively support her son through anxiety attacks and gave her resources that allowed him to express his emotions in a healthy way and learn to trust adults again. We were also able to support her in coping with her feelings around the crime and how best to support Ben.

During our last visit to Ben his mum thanked us. She said she’d seen such a change in Ben’s attitude and confidence since starting support. She said she didn’t think the family would have been able to get through this if it weren’t for Victim Support.

Gemma is a mum of two children who self-referred into us after being a victim of burglary. She was asked by the police at the time of reporting the crime if she would like support from us, but declined saying: “I’m fine, it’s not that bad”.

After a few weeks Gemma realised she wasn’t coping. She didn’t want to leave the house and was keeping the children off school. She wouldn’t let them see friends as she felt that if she left home something bad would happen. Gemma realised she may need help when she refused to take her daughter to a birthday party as it was on a Saturday – the same day she’d been burgled.

Gemma remembered Victim Support and rang to speak to one of our team. We arranged a visit from one of our volunteers, who was able to talk to Gemma about how she was feeling and reassure her that it was normal to feel this way.  Our Volunteer Manager also referred Gemma to The Crime Prevention Team in the police so they could do a security assessment of her property to offer some reassurance.

After a few weeks, and with the help of Victim Support, Gemma was able to leave the house. Feeling more confident and safe she also decided to set up a neighbourhood watch in her area, something she said she would never have done if she hadn’t had the support. Our volunteer went along to the first meeting to talk about getting support after crime.

Older man sitting on bench

Get help now

If you’ve been affected by crime in West Yorkshire, call us on 0300 303 1971.

Help after sexual violence

Find out more about how we help people who’ve been affected by sexual violence.

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