Women Waive Right To Anonymity And Urge Others Not To Suffer In Silence
Women sexually abused by a social worker when residents at a children’s care home have urged others not to suffer in silence after lawyers secured them settlements regarding their ordeals.
Andrew Wilson indecently assaulted young girls who were staying at Moorfields Assessment Centre in Derby in the 1970s and 1980s.
In 2012 he was convicted of making indecent images of children and of possession of extreme pornographic images. In December 2017 Wilson, then 62, of Bakewell, was jailed for 40 months after being found guilty six counts of indecent assault on two underage girls at the home.
Following Wilson’s conviction in 2017, a number of women, including those he was jailed in 2017 for abusing, instructed the specialist Abuse team at Irwin Mitchell to help them access the specialist support they require to try and overcome what happened.
Three women, from Derby and Ripley have now urged other abuse survivors to come forward and seek support, even many years after. Two of them have bravely waived their right to anonymity.
It comes after Irwin Mitchell secured undisclosed settlements for the women from Derbyshire County Council which runs Moorfields Assessment Centre.
Expert Opinion“This is yet another terrible case where a person in a position of responsibility has chosen to abuse that trust in the worst possible way.
“What happened to our clients has had a major impact on their lives, with some even facing the nightmare of speaking out in the past but not having their concerns taken seriously.
“The women have shown incredible courage to now want to speak out on their experiences. Nothing can change what they have endured, but we hope these settlements will go some way to ensuring they can access the specialist support services they require.
“Time catches up with perpetrators of such abuse. No matter how long ago, it is important people don’t feel alone and report what happened. There has been a huge sea change in how such issues are now handled and people can rest assured that authorities will always handle their cases in the most sensitive manner.” Tom Fletcher - Associate Solicitor
After leaving Moorfields in the 1980s, Wilson worked at Queensferry Children’s Home, also in Derby. Allegations of sexual abuse emerged in the 1990s with Derbyshire County Council paying him £5,000 to leave.
Find out more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in supporting survivors of sexual abuse.
A woman from Derby, was a resident at the Moorfields Assessment Centre in the early 1980s when she was around 15 and 16. She was abused by Wilson during her time at the site. She reported to council staff what has happening but no further action was taken.
Police contacted the mum-of-two in 2015 when investigating Wilson and later charged him with indecent assault in relation to abusing her.
The woman, who is now in her 50s but who cannot be named for legal reasons said: “Everything that I went through was just horrendous – I knew it was wrong but I was afraid to say no to what went on. To make it worse, I confided in someone and they did not believe me. I just lost faith and trust in everything.
“The police contacted me in 2015 and as soon as they did I knew what it was about. Seeing Wilson convicted of abuse against me and someone else was a huge relief.
“For years I had to live with what happened and suffered low self-esteem. It is only in the last few years that things have started to pick up.
“Going through this process has been hard, but I would urge others affected by similar problems to not suffer alone and ensure their voices are heard.”
Sharon Gillott - Ripley
Irwin Mitchell also represents Sharon Gillott, 51, from Ripley. She was also a resident at Moorfields Children’s Centre in the early 1980s and was the other person that Wilson was convicted of sexual abuse in relation to.
Sharon, who has two children and works in a school, said: “The whole ordeal had a major impact on my life, but there was a huge sense of relief when the police got in touch and I opened up to them. The past few years have been my time to be listened to after years of bottling it all up.
“It remains difficult to talk about what happened and it is very upsetting. Receiving a settlement does not erase all the memories of what happened, but I want to try and start looking to the future a little more positively. It can be immensely difficult coming forward to speak about such experiences, but people can rest assured that they will be listened to.”
Kim Moss - Derby
Specialist abuse lawyers have also secured a settlement for Kim Moss, 54, from Derby. She also reported being abused by Wilson at Moorfields in the late 1970s when she was around 12 and 13. However, Wilson was acquitted of abusing her in his criminal trial in 2017.
She said: “It is difficult to put into words how much what happened has affected me. I was supposed to feel safe in the home, yet it is clear that I was not.
“In the 1990s I talked to someone about what happened but nothing was ever taken forward. I felt like everything I had been through was just being ignored. It has all had a major impact on me and even now I suffer with mental health issues like paranoia and a lack of trust.
“It is difficult to put into words how upset I was when Wilson was acquitted but I was determined that should not be the end of it.
“Nothing will ever change what has happened, but receiving this settlement feels like I have some form of justice for what happened and will ensure I can access the ongoing support I need. However, I also hope by coming forward and speaking out, others affected by similar issues will recognise they do not have to suffer on their own anymore.”