'He took advantage of me, I

didn't know what was going on'

Leanne's story

Leanne's story

'The fact I'm able to talk about it, makes me feel better'

At 15 years old, Leanne was groomed and sexually assaulted by an older man. Not being able to process what had happened to her, Leanne kept the abuse to herself. Eventually the secret became too hard to bear and Leanne told a teacher. She was later referred to us and after many years of support, is now feeling more positive about her future. 


Just a happy teenager

When she was 15 years old, Leanne had a good group of friends, was happy at school and got on well with her family.

One day an older man, who was working on a house nearby, approached Leanne. He was friendly and gave her gifts. She began to trust him. Then one day he took her back to the house where he was working and sexually assualted her. 

Unable to process what had happened to her, Leanne didn't know who to talk to and was scared her friends would judge her. She didn't want her parents to be upset or worried so she suffered in silence until it became to hard to bear on her own. 

Leanne told a friend what had happened, who then told a teacher who phoned the police. 

In this country, 1 child in 20 has been the victim of sexual abuse

That's at least one child in every classroom

Understanding and recovering from abuse

Leanne was referred to one of our child exploitation services. Through one-to-one sessions, our project worker Tina used specialist counselling techniques to help Leanne understand that what happened wasn’t her fault.

'A lot of people have made it seem like it is my fault...I want him to know that he's guilty for all of it'

Tina taught Leanne to cope with the trauma she had experienced, and ways she could stay safe in the future. With Tina's support, Leanne's well-being slowly started to improve. 

‘I think the fact that I’m able to talk about it almost makes you feel better to be able to get it out in the open’

Over the past four years, Tina has helped Leanne recover from her assault and start to feel more positive about her future. Leanne gained the confidence to write a victim statement against the man who groomed her, and she was strong enough to attend court to see him sent to prison for his crimes. 


Preventing child sexual exploitation

Seeing her abuser jailed helped give Leanne a sense of closure on her traumatic experience, but she still works with her project worker to deal with the lasting impact the abuse has had on her mental health.

Our project workers help young people by:

  • teaching children about the techniques abusers use, so that young people are able to spot when they’re being groomed and keep themselves safe.
  • using counselling to help children understand they are the victims of manipulation.
  • using therapy and creative workshops to rebuild their self-image.
  • raising awareness of grooming in schools and communities.

DID YOU KNOW 1 in 3 children who is abused by an adult never tells anyone about what happened to them?

Thanks to our supporters' donations, we're currently able to run 16 services across the country to support children who have been sexually abused or exploited.

Your donation could help support more children like Leanne.

Learn more about our specialist services and how we support children across the country.

Find out more