My experience started when I was contacted by my cousin because the police had got in touch with her. She made it clear that it was entirely my decision if I came forward .
It was almost a relief that after all these years I was able to talk about it , it never occurred to me to go to the police before that.. You read about these awful cases in the press and I thought my experience was so insignificant compared to them that I didn’t think the police would be interested.
I emailed the police officer in charge of the case and she phoned me back, she was very reassuring and at no time did I feel that I was not believed or she wasn’t interested in my experience.
We arranged a date for her to take my video evidence. I think the one thing that struck me going through the process is how tired it makes you, lots of emotions to deal with.
I found I was constantly on high alert cos the police could phone or email at any time, I could be at work, in the supermarket…and then you had to find a way to calm yourself down and continue with what ever you’re doing.
I had to wait about a year and a half till trial. I had the police and my IVSA to talk to during this time but it would have been great to have ‘normal’ non professional people to talk to aswell ( I know I couldn’t talk about specifics of case) my cousin and I supported each other but she had no more idea what would happen than I did.
It would have be great to vent to people that understood, things like having to go to get a new phone cos the police had taken yours ( to look at emails, social media)..and having to explain in the middle of a busy shop that the police had your phone.
Trying to continue normality in life whilst your mind is constantly on this was the hardest thing