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"You can't bury the truth forever, it needs to be heard.": Child sexual abuse survivors speak out

15 Jun 2016

Tonight (Weds 15th June), ITV will air the latest in its Exposure documentary series. During the programme, viewers will hear from two women who tell the programme they were sexually abused and raped by former Liberal MP and broadcaster Clement Freud.

Sylvia Woosley, who first met Freud when she was 10 and was sent to live with him at 14, says:

"Having been so hard on myself, trying to destroy myself so many times, you can't bury the truth forever, it needs to be heard.

"I don't want to take this to my tomb.

"I would like to just return to the child I was before I was molested physically, before I was introduced to that side of life too early."

Last year (to March 2016), Rape Crisis Centres across the England and Wales network provided ongoing specialist services, such as counselling and advocacy, to 58,000 survivors and answered 171,000 helpline calls - over 3,000 every week.

Adult survivors of child sexual abuse again made up the single largest group of Rape Crisis service users during the year, and three-quarters of the survivors who sought our services came to us for support around sexual violence they had experienced at least 12 months previously.  Where age was known, 1,700 Rape Crisis service users were aged 15 and under last year.

Through our more than 40 years' experience of providing frontline specialist support services to both child and adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse, Rape Crisis knows the range of long-term, even lifelong, impacts this kind of violence can have on all aspects of survivors lives and how difficult seeking support can be.

On behalf of Rape Crisis, Katie Russell said: 

"To survivors affected by tonight's programme or the coverage of the Clement Freud story in the news, we say, 'you are not alone, none of this was your fault.'  If you're looking for specialist, confidential support or information, please visit our website at for details of services near you and/or services available over the phone or online."