Man raped as a child encourages fellow victims to report abuse

PUBLISHED: 06:57 19 October 2018 | UPDATED: 07:32 19 October 2018

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A man who was raped at the age of 10 is encouraging children to speak up about abuse, after worrying figures show a 70 per cent rise in sexual offences against children in Avon and Somerset.

Josh Tuck, who has waived his anonymity to urge victims to come forward, was raped during a sleepover.

It took him two years to tell his family, but after speaking out he received counselling and took his abuser to court.

He is now urging others to speak up so they can get the help they need.

Josh said: “I want other people to feel they can come forward – you have already been through probably what is the worst thing that is ever going to happen to you, and everything from there on isn’t going to be as difficult.”

Josh received counselling, but his mental health deteriorated and he suffered from depression and suicidal thoughts.

He said: “There was a lot of strain on every relationship.

“I lost friends because they didn’t understand why I was so angry and shutting myself off.

“My confidence just died. I developed agoraphobia whereby I could not even go outside in our back garden.”

Josh has spoken out about his experiences after figures show 173 sexual offences were recorded against children aged four to eight in the area last year, compared to 102 in 2015-16.

Chris Cloke, head of safeguarding for the NSPCC, said the figures are ‘shocking’ but stressed they are just the ‘tip of the iceberg’.

He said: “There’s a significant increase in Avon and Somerset which is a cause for concern.

“The younger you can talk to your children about it the better.

“We also know it’s the tip of the iceberg.

“We know from experience more sexual abuse happens than gets reported.”

Josh has spoken out to support the NSPCC’s Talk PANTS campaign which encourages parents to talk to their children about abuse.

The PANTS acronym provides key rules to help children, such as – privates are private, their body belongs to them, they have a right to say no, and they should tell an adult they trust if they are worried.

The NSPCC is also visiting schools in North Somerset to teach children how to recognise signs of abuse.

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