There are lots of kids suffering abuse who can’t see a way out...
“I’M only doing this to you to show you it’s wrong. Don’t let other people do this to you.”
Those words – uttered by his childhood abuser – have haunted Morris Robinson for 60 years.
From the moment he could walk, Morris was molested and beaten by an older man – someone he trusted.
Now 64, Morris is convinced his childhood would have been different if the NSPCC’s phonelines – Childline for kids and the NSPCC helpline for concerned adults – had been open when he was a youngster.
He has been prompted to speak of his traumatic past as it emerges that calls to the NSPCC from youngsters are going unanswered.
The problem – caused by lack of funds – means abused children could be suffering in silence, just as Morris was forced to as a child in the 1950s.
Today, the M.E.N. and the NSPCC launches a campaign to stop that from happening.
Morris, from Leigh, describes the abuse he suffered as ‘relentless.’ From being a toddler until the age of 16, he was physically and sexually abused at least twice a week.
As a helpless young boy Morris, who says his family were powerless to stop it, was regularly hit by his abuser. He describes his life back then as ‘horrendous.’ “I was always powerless,” he said. “I can remember him hitting me when I was only five years old. He was a bully and he knew that I didn’t stand a chance against his strength and power. From a very young age I accepted I just had to take his abuse and not fight back. I knew I’d never win.”
Morris lived in poverty as a child, was terrified of his abuser and felt like he had ‘nowhere to hide.’
“I can remember one time when he walked into my room and blocked the doorway so I couldn’t escape,” Morris said.
“There was no way past him but all I wanted to do was get out. If I ever did anything wrong or answered him back he would beat me. He never gave me the chance to explain myself and wouldn’t listen to anything I had to say. “He told me I’d never achieve anything. I was so unhappy and I felt worthless but I knew there had to be a better way to live. “At 16 I became an apprentice electrician, which gave me the independence and security I needed to escape him.” In the years before he managed to escape his abuser, Morris was desperate for someone to intervene – but the help never came. “I knew what was happening wasn’t right but when I was growing up people didn’t talk about child abuse, especially not sexual abuse. It was brushed under the carpet like an embarrassing secret.” The NSPCC’s phonelines were set up to help youngsters like the frightened little boy Morris once was. Childline provides youngsters with confidential oneto-one access to a counsellor online or on the phone, and callers don’t have to give their names. Meanwhile, the NSPCC Helpline is a place where adults can get advice or share their
When you do speak out to someone nowadays you will be believed Morris Robinson
MAN WHO ENDURED CHILDHOOD ORDEAL GIVES HIS BACKING TO M.E.N.-NSPCC CAMPAIGN
concerns about a child, anonymously. “There are lots of children suffering abuse right now who won’t be able to see a way out,” Morris said.
“They’ll feel trapped like I did. I think Childline is a brilliant service. When you do speak out to someone nowadays you will be believed – I was being abused in the 1950s and 1960s when sexual abuse was a completely taboo subject. It’s not just sexual abuse though, it’s important kids know they can talk about anything.”
He added: “If any adult has the slightest suspicion that a child is suffering they shouldn’t hesitate in calling the NSPCC Helpline.
“I know my mum and a close family friend knew what was happening to me but no one spoke up for me at the time. If the NSPCC Helpline had existed when I was growing up, my mum or the family friend could’ve told someone what was happening to me. If my story inspires just one adult to pick up the phone and speak to the NSPCC Helpline about a child they think might be suffering, then it will be worthwhile.
“I strongly believe that we can all try to do something to stop children being harmed and we can’t ignore signs of abuse, suffering or neglect.
“It’s taken me decades to come to terms with what I went through and to be able to talk about it. The funding has to keep coming in for the service and awareness of Childline and other NSPCC services has to extend beyond Christmas time and TV adverts. We need people thinking about the good the NSPCC does year round.”
Morris Robinson suffered years of abuse as a child
Our campaign aims to give every vulnerable child the chance to contact Childline