Thursday, 19 April 2018

The cost of sexual assault


This is not so much a Wicked Wednesday… but despite mulling the topic all week, I have really struggled to think sexy thoughts about money.

Here is my trigger warning folks…I’ve just spent the day fighting the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority over semantics in the case of my children’s claim. This has no sexiness to it, but since it will never make a storyline in a soap opera and I think it is worth knowing about I want to open up about it here. The only link is that is it about the monetary value placed on sex.




WickedWednesday






I watch people’s faces turn to “slapped with a wet fish” or “sucked a lemon” when I talk about what happened to my children. The thing is, they are human beings growing up, who I want to be happy and healthy. And to me, being sex positive means I consider their future should probably include sex to be those things. I write that under the proviso that I have made a statistical judgement here… if sex is not your thing and turns out to not be theirs, I’m fine with that too.

Today’s joy was trying to argue that my child was raped, even though the CPS chose to drop the charge against his abuser at trial. Here’s the thing. The abuser had been caught for assaults on five children. When you reach two charges of rape, among the many other sexual offences against children he was charged with, the starting tariff on sentencing rises. He had admitted in interview to raping my second child. When it came to trial, he admitted something like 45 of the 60 charges in front of him, ranging from child pornography to rape. To save the children from having to testify, the CPS decided that was enough of a sample and dropped the rest. They said they were pleased with the result. He got 10 years, with parole available after 6 years 8 months. 

In interview, my child described being orally raped.

We have made an application for compensation in the children’s names for being victims of crime.  Child number two gets the full award for being raped. Child number one gets fifty percent, because despite being well below the age of consent, the most serious sex act the abuser was charged with in his case was that he forced my child to penetrate him. I never imagined having to fight out the difference in financial value they place on anal and oral sex and on sexual assault where the one being assaulted is forced into an act of penetration. I never thought about what level of proof was necessary to prove oral rape.  

And the amounts are paltry. £16,500 is the maximum payout for the child they accept was raped multiple times.

We have spent upwards of £70,000 so far on supporting the children and safeguarding them over the past years since the assaults. Both children are disabled and have acted out on the new information they got about how friends behave to each other from their abuser… so for a long time have had to have round the clock support to make sure they didn’t accidentally assault each other or their other sibling, or friends.

We have had to fight to get therapy for them. In the UK, for children, the support comes at first instance from a charity who give you 20 sessions. As the children are disabled by their autism, this didn’t work for them and we had to persuade Social Services we needed more specialised treatment, which only happened when one of them said they’d touched their sibling. There is no NHS counselling or trauma recovery. At least not in our area. We have no private health insurance to buy in such a thing and services are very scattered. Our psychologist drives a 200 mile round trip to see the children each week. When a break came in her funding and we had to apply for more, it took nearly 3 months to get the continuation approved for a further 12 weeks. 

There are very important conversations coming about from campaigns about assaults on adults. Very important. But what actually happens when a child has been assaulted is astonishing opaque and the availability of services and funding astonishingly small.  Disabled children are four times more likely to be sexually assaulted than their able peers. As they cannot necessarily access “mainstream” services, there is often little in place to support them. Certainly, no financial packages. No go-to support services. They have no voice.

That £16,500 will become available to my middle son when he turns 18. Until then the state will look after it, as it depreciates. It cannot be used to buy in the support he needs now. “It is not for paying for treatment” said the disembodied voice on the phone when I rang to ask why everything was taking so long. “You can apply before he is 18 for treats like a new bike or computer, but it is compensation, not for services like a carer”.

So a million dollars. I wouldn’t turn it down right now.

5 comments:

  1. This breaks my heart. I have no words...

    Rebel xox

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    1. :-) I don't think there are any and that is ok too. Somedays the shittiness overwhelms the other aspects of our lives... somedays we race around Barcelona eating Paella and typing out blog posts on a kindle from a bunk bed...

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  2. This is so hard to read, but nothing like how hard it must be to be so directly involved in the situation. My heart goes out to you and the children. Indigo xx

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  3. Quite often when we talk about sexual abuse it is from the point of view of the person it happened to and as hard as it is to go through the therapeutic steps it is sort of in your own hands... but as a parent of abused children, I can't "do" their recovery for them... and they days they can't do it themselves are the hardest. But that is not everyday... so we get on with it... thank you for your kind words.

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