Child sex abuse survivor says there are ‘dozens, if not hundreds’ in Dundee living in silence

Dave Sharp
Dave Sharp

A leading campaigner and survivor of child abuse in Scotland will visit Dundee next month in a bid to encourage local people to speak out about their experiences of sexual abuse.

Dave Sharp was trafficked to Ireland and drugged and raped by multiple men while in the care of a former residential home in Fife.

The 59-year-old, from Glasgow, was taken around many homes, where he was placed in a coffin with the lid shut for long periods of time.

The survivor is now bringing his campaign SAFE — Seek And Find Everyone Abused in Childhood — to the city.

Its motto is “come forward, be brave, don’t take your abuse to the grave”.

SAFE consists of survivors who have reported their abuse and given evidence at the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry. His pending visit to Dundee comes after The Women’s Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre (WRASAC) revealed it helped 447 survivors of sexual abuse in 2016/17.

It also provided 2,455 one-to-one support sessions for victims.

The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry — investigating the abuse of children in care in Scotland — is currently under way.

The SAFE team

In an interview with the Tele, Dave said he believes there are many people from the Tayside region sexually abused as children who have never spoken out about their experiences.

Dave said he hoped by working with local groups — including homeless organisations and city churches — people could be persuaded to talk about their experiences.

He said: “I have been told already that there have been dozens — if not hundreds — of people in the Dundee area who were abused in childhood and who took their abuse to the grave. Many men who were in the Fife care home did come from the Dundee area.

“That is why we are hopeful that many people will come forward when we are in Dundee who have not spoken about their abuse for years.”

The survivor said he believed the campaign’s success hinges on getting local groups to work with SAFE.

He added: “This is something I am working very hard on right now — to leave something behind which will have a lasting effect on the whole of the Dundee area.

“We are not coming up and saying that nothing is being done but what we do know — and we have done our research — is that Dundee is a very dark area when it comes to historical child abuse.

“There are a few homes — which are currently being investigated by the abuse inquiry — where a large amount of the children sent to these homes were from the Dundee area.

“This is the case in the home where I was abused in Fife.”

He said the group will be in Dundee on March 1 and 2 and it’s hoped it can encourage as many people as possible to come forward.

Dave added: “We plan to have lots of information about local and national services that are available. Myself and other survivors will also be giving our testimonies about what happened to us. We believe that the more survivors who come forward to give evidence the better. SAFE is a group of historical child abuse survivors who have come together with their own money and their own experiences to take to the streets of Scotland to find other survivors who do not know where to turn.”

The location for the Dundee visit is still to be finalised.