February 2018

Brave Doncaster child abuse victim speaks out after her attacker is jailed for nine years

Post-traumatic stress disorder, mental health problems and the corrosive effect of keeping a heartbreaking secret concealed for years are just some of the things a brave Doncaster child abuse victim has had to contend with.

But after her attacker was jailed for the sickening sexual abuse carried out against her when she was just 10-years-old, the courageous woman has spoken out in the hope her story could empower other abuse survivors to come forward.

One of the most difficult chapters of Jane’s* life came to an end in December last year, when 54-year-old Timothy John Robinson-Perkins – the man who had abused her as a child in the 1970s – was found guilty of 10 sex offences at the conclusion of a trial at Sheffield Crown Court.

Judge Sarah Wright sentenced him to nine years in prison for his crimes during a hearing at Sheffield Crown Court in December. But finally bringing Jane’s attacker to justice came at a price.

In order to increase the chances of a prosecution, the Doncaster mum decided to give evidence and face the prospect of being cross-examined by a highly-skilled barrister.

All of that was in addition to knowing she would need to be in the same building as Robinson-Perkins, of Melrose Mews, Auckley, Doncaster in order to give evidence.

But thankfully, Jane was able to give evidence, via a video-link, from a different room at Sheffield Crown Court.

Victims of sex offences, who are entitled to lifelong anonymity, are able to give evidence in court from behind a screen so they do not have to physically see their attacker.

In some cases, South Yorkshire abuse victims are able to give evidence through a video-link, either in a separate part of Sheffield Crown Court or at the Sexual Assault Referral Centre in Hackenthorpe, Sheffield. “Knowing he would be at court at the same time as me was horrible, but my advocate (Independent Sexual Violence Advocate) gave me a tour of the court the week before, and showed I would be able to go in through a different entrance to the main one, which did help,” said Jane.

She added: “It was difficult, but to be fair my evidence only lasted for half-an-hour, they didn’t ask me too many difficult questions. “And either way it was worth it. This is something that can happen to anyone in Doncaster, in the country.

The more people report it, the harder it is for people who do this to get away with it. “The advocates really help you, and talk you through everything before it happens. It is horrible, but there are people who will help you.”

Jane says that while justice being carried out will always be ‘worth it’ – she thinks his sentence was far too lenient.

“This has ruined my life. I’ve had depression for years. “I feel sorry for my kids having to have had a mum who has had all this to deal with – and he’ll serve four-and-a-half years. But I’ll never be able to change the last 30-years of my life.

“I was shocked when he was found guilty though, I really thought he’d get away with what he’d done forever. “To know that you have been believed does make you feel good.”

Jane kept the abuse a secret for more than three decades. It wasn’t until she had to undergo a medical examination with a male nurse who had the same name as her attacker that she accidentally let slip about the abuse she had suffered.

“I said I didn’t want someone with that name examining me, and told him about what had happened. “The male nurse reported it to the police and Doncaster CID got in touch with me.

“But it took me four months before I felt able to give them a statement. Having to go through it again with a stranger was difficult but the police were really nice with me.

“Things have never felt quite right in my life since it happened. I’ve tried killing myself before because of what happened. I have a borderline personality disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder that they say was triggered by what happened to me.

“Nothing has been able to help me so far – but maybe having this closure will help me, I don’t know.” Anyone wishing to report a crime should call South Yorkshire Police on 101.

*Jane’s name has been changed to protect her identity.

 

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