There are lots of kids suf­fer­ing abuse who can’t see a way out...

Manchester Evening News - - LIGHT UP CHRISTMAS FOR CHILDREN - By BETH ABBIT news­ @MENnews­desk

“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


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

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