Law: Sexual abuse: Jane's story

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The Independent Culture
Jane Jackson was 27 when her parents discovered she had been sexually abused by one of the instructors at the day centre she attended. After years of abuse, she had told one of the teachers, who had informed the management, and management told the assistant director. Social services were alerted and Jane was given counselling.

But her parents were not told. Only when the counsellor suggested that Jane confide in her parents did they learn what had been going on. They were shocked and called the police.

"The abuser was still working there. The police arrested him and investigated 18 other girls and found at least one other he had abused," Jane's father, Stephen, said. "A police woman interviewed my daughter and was convinced what she was saying was true."

However, the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to go ahead with a prosecution, leaving Jane devastated. "Up to that stage Jane felt she was being supported. After that, she felt let down. She had told the inspector she wanted it to go to a court. Who was this CPS who felt she wouldn't make a good witness?"

The family prosecuted social services privately, alleging neglect of their daughter. She won several thousand pounds in an out-of-court settlement. But they are angry that Jane was not allowed to present her case. Mr Jackson said: "She can speak very clearly. If you put a lot of pressure on her she will clam up, but she wouldn't alter her story."

All names have been changed.

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