“Hopeless, worthless, used.” A victim of child sexual abuse speaks out after her abusers were jailed

A woman has spoken of the horrific impact being sexually abused as a child has had on her, after her perpetrators were jailed last month.

Emdadul Lukman, 47 of Waldegrave Street, Hastings, East Sussex and Jakhir Hussain, 37, of Keymer Court, Burgess Hill, West Sussex, were sentenced on 20 February to a total of 36 years after being found guilty by a unanimous jury of multiple counts of rape and causing/inciting a girl under 13 to engage in sexual activity.

Although the abuse took place almost two decades ago, she found the courage to report it in February 2018 after telling her mother and husband what had happened to her.
An investigation was subsequently launched by Bedfordshire Police’s Child and Vulnerable Adult Abuse (CAVAA) team, which resulted in Lukman being jailed for 16 years and Hussain for 20 years.

She said: “It began when I was a young child. Both men were kind to me, made me feel special and loved and I felt I could trust them, but now I realise that I had been groomed by them.

“I decided to tell my husband what had happened two years ago as he had noticed a change in me.

“I have been majorly depressed and suicidal since I was 15. I felt lost, I just wasn’t me. I began hanging around with the wrong crowd. I just wanted to die. Outwardly I would be fine but I wanted to overdose on pills. When I woke up in the morning I would be disappointed to be alive. I began self-harming, cutting myself.

“I was reluctant to tell anyone because I was embarrassed and I thought no-one would believe me.

“Sometimes I’d end up in bed for days. Because of this, I have had to give up my job. The strain of this was also causing problems in my marriage. I felt hopeless, worthless, used.
“They have their own lives and families. They have shown no remorse for what they have done to me.”

PC Benjamin Robertson, from Bedfordshire Police’s Child and Vulnerable Adult Abuse team, who investigated the case, said: “I’d like to praise the bravery of the victim for coming forward and telling us about the horrific abuse she endured as a child and I am pleased that these two child abusers have received substantial custodial sentences.

“I know this can’t bring back the innocent years of her childhood that they mercilessly stole from her, but I hope that in some way it will help her to move forward and start to enjoy her life again. She should be extremely proud that her actions have led to her perpetrators spending the next few years behind bars.

“We want to reiterate that it is never too late to come forward and tell police if you have been the victim of sexual abuse, no matter how long ago it was. You will be listened to, you will be supported, and we will endeavour to do all we can to seek justice for you.”

 

Since being a special constable I’ve been able to see what I’m capable of

Kirsty is a mum of two and joined Bedfordshire Police as a special constable to help make Bedfordshire safe for her young children.

I have lived in Bedfordshire my whole life. I have had some difficult personal life experiences and wanted to be able to turn those negative experiences into something positive through volunteering as an officer. To be able to help others who might have experienced something similar to me and those who are in need of support is important to me.

I wanted to help make Bedfordshire a safer place for my children to grow up in and for fellow residents

I work part time for my husband’s electrical contracting company doing general admin duties and he is very supportive of my volunteering, I am very lucky! To become a special constable I enrolled on the three week intensive course which consisted of theory, practical elements, personal safety training and first aid training. There was a lot to learn but it was exciting, engaging and enjoyable. It included everything I needed to become fully operational.

Since attesting there have been ongoing opportunities for further training, some optional and some mandatory.

I chose to go on the three week intense training course because it was run during the summer holidays. I took annual leave and booked my children in to holiday clubs.

It was a challenge to juggle everything but I just had to ensure I was highly organised.

I also made sure that at the end of each day I had a couple hours of down time to spend with my family to keep a healthy work/life balance.

The home preparation was challenging. I had to force myself to have a disciplined approach to completing evening studies. It was very tempting to get home and put my feet up for the rest of the night!

I really loved doing the training and found that if I focused on studying in the evening I absorbed all the information I needed, which put me at an advantage for the next training day.

In uniform

I soon got into a good routine and was so passionate on achieving my end goal that nothing was going to phase me!

I’m not going to lie, it was very intensive!! But it was honestly one of my best times of my life. I loved going back through the learning process and with it being three solid weeks I made some amazing friends.

We all felt the intensity of the course at times but we all came together and spurred one another on. We developed good relationships with the trainers and because we were in that environment every day we were constantly absorbing information which we were then able to test each other on over the following days.

Personally, I found it more convenient. With it being three solid weeks it means you get consistency and you fall into a good learning routine.

Being able to make a difference to a person’s life is what I really thrive upon

I absolutely love being a special constable. Putting on the uniform and going out to support people, fight crime and make Bedfordshire a safer place gives me a huge sense of fulfilment and pride.

I have really enjoyed everything so far, from the training to becoming part of a supportive and friendly team where we combat crime together.

A couple of my most memorable moments have been locating a missing child and helping a suicidal person get the immediate help and support they needed.

I love being a special and working with the local community

I have been involved in multiple warrants, policing for the night time economy and events like football matches, Remembrance Day and the Christmas lights switch on.

It’s a great feeling when people come up to you to thank you for the job you do and the feeling you get when you get home and know that you have made a real difference to somebody today.

I have been able to see what I’m really capable of

I have increased my self-confidence through the difference challenges I have pushed myself to do.

I have found that being a special constable is effective at rebalancing your sense of perspective. It’s helped me step back in certain situations and re-evaluate my approach to things in life.

One of my favourite things I’ve been involved in was the Millwall vs Luton football match! I also love going out with response because of the variety of jobs we have to deal with.

Take the plunge and apply to be a special constable!

You won’t have any regrets. I am very happy with the choice I made. Being a special is rewarding, exciting and fulfilling.

It will change your life and others, for the better.

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31-year-old Kirsty Allen joined Bedfordshire Police as a special in August 2019 after completing the three week intensive training course.

If you would like to gain new skills, grow as a person and see a side of yourself you didn’t know you had, apply at www.bedfordshire.police.uk/careers.

 

 

Women’s History Month – 13 years of volunteering

Tracey Bateman is one of our longest serving female special constables. She has been with us for almost 13 years and in that has been to a variety of jobs and helped a multitude of different people.

She was inspired to join by a talk from one of our officers when she worked in a retail store and started her volunteering journey with Bedfordshire Police in 2008.

The Specials Chief Officer at the time came to do a presentation at a shopping centre retailer meeting when I was working in Debenhams.

He presented an idea to create a Shop Watch team, supported by retailers, where they would allow staff one day a month to work in the centre as a special constable.

We were so keen to become specials we even got a Sergeant to take us to the gym to practise the bleep test.

There was a small uptake with just myself and one other passing the recruitment process. I began training in January and attested a few months later in July.

Patrolling the nightlife in the local towns on Friday and Saturday evenings was one of my earlier roles. We used to do foot patrol; from about 6pm to 10pm then jump on a van and work until about 2am visiting pubs and clubs to test for drugs in the toilets on a weekly basis.

There have been a lot of changes to policing over the years. Special constables are now a lot more integrated with the force overall and there is a real need for us to support our regular counterparts.

When I first started, we also attended a lot of community events such as fetes and shows. 

But resourcing this kind of duty has reduced and now we work a lot closer with our regular colleagues.

We are now able to take up specialised roles such as Op Meteor, airport policing and football spotting. I have been a spotter for about six years now and love being part of the team.

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I definitely feel more confident when dealing with people and have made many friends with both specials and regular officers. 

I love it when you’ve dealt with something that could have really turned hostile or become violent, but you have calmed the whole situation down and it has ended with everyone going away happy.

I can honestly say that being female special constable has never caused me an issue.

It has actually has helped me on lots of occasions and certainly does when I’m a spotter in football policing. In all my time as a special, I have drawn but never had to use my baton and truly believe that being able to talk to people has prevented trouble starting or getting out of control.

My knowledge on the law has proved useful on occasions outside of my time in uniform – but friends and family do expect you to know everything!

The training we have received for First Aid and Personal Safety and other areas such as diversity, dementia, and hate crime have all had a positive impact on being able to deal with members of the public on and off duty.

I would wholeheartedly recommend anyone, male or female to join the special constabulary. 

It’s a worthwhile role and you can get so much satisfaction out of it.  I believe I make a difference and am so glad I attended that meeting almost 13 years ago.

It has been one of the best things I ever did and I still enjoy it immensely.

If you have been inspired by Tracey’s story and want to follow in her footsteps by joining the special constabulary click here.