In August 2019, after a five-year ordeal, Naomi’s stepdad, Graham Howard, was jailed for 30 years. Graham had sexually, physically, and emotionally abused Naomi and her siblings since they were children, for Naomi the abuse started when she was just 5 years old and only stopped when she was 15.
Naomi was supported through the criminal justice system by an IDAS Independent Sexual Violence Advisor. Initially, Naomi’s case was not taken forward to court by the Crown prosecution Service (CPS), and was classed as ‘No Further Action’, however IDAS supported Naomi to appeal the decision and after many years her abuser was finally convicted.
Naomi, said of her ordeal, “It’s a very long process, very tiring, very difficult. I reported it in 2014 after they’d taken my daughter from me because of him. I’d lost enough, and I wasn’t going to let him control me. I gave a two-hour interview and laid every little detail bare and there were three officers on the case. We got it to the CPS in 2015 and then we were told it was ‘No Further Action’ and we were devastated, we were all devasted. After a couple of days though I decided that I was going to fight because the man had taken enough from me and he wasn’t going to take any more. Originally, I took it on my own but then my siblings decided to come on board with me and fight it with me and then we got it to court. He got a 30-year prison sentence in 2019. Personally, I had support from IDAS and my own independent counsellor if it hadn’t been for the support of those two companies I wouldn't have been where I am today.
“For someone to be able to sit and listen to me, to believe me and understand and say, ‘I believe you, it is alright, I am here from you’. To hear those words gave me extra strength to tell my story.”
Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVA), employed by IDAS, offer emotional and practical support and can advocate for victims and survivors, outlining the options and assisting with the communication between the many different agencies and organisations that are involved when a report of sexual violence is made. An ISVA can also support someone if they do not wish to report to the police. The support is confidential and non-judgemental.
“You never need to be afraid to ask for help, I was afraid, but I asked for help. You are not alone.”
If you have been affected by sexual violence or abuse, whether recent or historic, IDAS can offer advice and support. Call 03000 110 110 or visit www.idas.org.uk and join a Live Chat from 3 pm – 6 pm Monday – Friday.