Kirsty survived sexual abuse as a child. There were times she couldn’t see a way out but she kept going, knowing that tomorrow could be better. After meeting one of our project workers, Kirsty found the strength to work through it all. She now dreams of becoming a criminal prosecutor and is optimistic about the future.
At a young age, Kirsty was sexually abused. She tried to get on with her life but never properly talked about what happened. She would self-harm as a way of coping. She even survived an overdose. Kirsty toughed it out alone.
As she got older, Kirsty enjoyed chatting with her friends on social media apps like Snapchat and Instagram. It was fun until men started sending her messages demanding photos and asking to meet up. Still, she thought they were harmless.
Luckily one of Kirsty's teachers found out and stepped in. These men weren't harmless. Many of them were sex offenders.
facts about child sexual abuse
of all police-recorded sexual offences are against children
1 in 20
children in the UK have been sexually abused
Working through it
Kirsty was referred to Lorna, one of our project workers. Lorna specialises in helping children understand grooming. She explained that many of these men use social media to manipulate and take advantage of young people.
I don't know where I would be without Lorna’s support... I knew she could help me, because she’s so friendly and easy to talk to.
Having Lorna there to talk to has helped Kirsty through some of her darker periods. 'I went through a really hard time just before Christmas. It was quite bad. So, it does help talking to people a lot.'
After working together for a while, Kirsty and Lorna developed a bond. Kirsty finally felt able open up about the sexual abuse.
‘I did a lot of work about self-esteem with Lorna, which is still a work in progress, and we also worked on relationships and what a good relationship is.'
Having someone there made the world of difference to Kirsty. With Lorna’s help, she turned her life around. She is excited about the future and all possibilities that come with it.
'We worked on future goals. I said what I want to do when I'm older and what I see myself doing. I want to go to university and study law and become a lawyer or a criminal prosecutor.’
stronger than ever
Stronger than ever
Through sheer determination Kirsty has fought her way through the darkest times. Today, she is stronger than ever. She continues to receive further counselling to help her heal, and if anyone contacts her online, she blocks them straight away.
‘If another young person needed help, I would say come to The Children’s Society. Do it. It will help a lot. Because you might not think that you need to know stuff, but you actually do in the real world.'
It’s good to learn things that you actually need It’s good to learn things that you actually need
case study policy
This is a true story but names and identifying details have been changed to protect the young person and the photographs have been posed by models.
£5 a month could pay for a hot meal, shower and living essentials for a young runaway
£10 a month could pay for a front line worker's phone so children in danger can contact them
£20 a month could pay for a family to have mediation sessions to resolve conflict at home