A WOMAN who says she suffered years of sexual abuse as a young girl has called for the police investigation to be re-opened, claiming the inquiry was flawed.

The 53-year-old mother-of-two believes she was repeatedly raped by her step-brother from the age of around seven but, “blocked out” memories of the childhood trauma.

She says her older sister was also a victim but the alleged abuser was not charged because her sister denied it happened, when she was questioned by police last year.

Without corroboration, a requirement in Scots law, the case was closed and Police Scotland say, “all lines of inquiry were exhausted.”

She says a failure to get justice and the pain of reliving her experience during lengthy police interviews, was “worse than the abuse,” itself.

The woman, who is divorced, believes the police investigation was mishandled. She claims the female officer who interviewed her “lacked compassion and professionalism,” and is critical that an interview with her cousin, whom she had confided in as a child and believes is a vital witness, was carried out over the phone and not in person.

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She lodged three complaints against Police Scotland, after coming forward last year, but only one was upheld by the force, which did not relate to the actual investigation.

She bravely told her story to the Evening Times to encourage other women to come forward, who face a difficult path in proving historic abuse due to corroboration laws, which require two independent sources of evidence before a defendent can be convicted.

She said: “I would hate to think of this happening to anyone else but I know that there are hundreds in my position.

“A lot of women turn to drink or drugs after someone like this happens because it is like a cancer eating away at them but I tried to get on with my life. I got married and had my children. However, I want the case re-opened and I want him charged.”

The mother-of-two went on: “I was a happy go lucky child like everyone else, a normal childhood. My mum and dad worked extremely hard.

“I had two brothers and another sister.

“My older, step brother, would babysit me and my sister. He was about six years older. We shared a double bed and he was always in the middle.

“It mainly happened when he was babysitting. You would wake up during the night and he was there.

“I remember him touching me and me not wanting him to. I remember him taking my clothes off and me not wanting him to.

“The main thing I remember is me trying to close my legs tight to stop it happening."

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She says she confided in an older cousin who told her to to tell her step-brother that she had told someone.

She said: “She told me if that didn’t work to pick up the nearest object and throw it him. I remember I picked up a shoe and threw it at him and told him I’d told someone and he was going to be sorry. It stopped after that.”

“Then I just carried on with my life, I got married and had children. As far as I was concerned it hadn’t happened.”

She finally confided in her mother, when she was married in her 30s, who did believe her but she decided not to pursue a police complaint because she was pregnant with her first child and also, didn’t want to put her sister through the trauma.

She finally plucked up the courage to report the abuse to the police, last year, after more than 40 years of burying the trauma. Police interviewed her alleged abuser, her sister and her cousin but they all denied the abuse had taken place. She no longer speaks to her sister and says the revelations of abuse created a rift with her daughter.

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She said: “My sister and step brother are still friends. They are hiding an awful lot.I wouldn’t have walked into the police station if I had known that my older cousin would have gone against me.

“I remember asking (the police officer) do you believe me and she said yes. She said she believed me and that if this was in England, it would have gone to court."

One complaint levied against Police Scotland was upheld, related to officers keeping her updated on the progress of the inquiry.

In a letter, Police Scotland apologised and said the service had “fallen below the high standards expected of us.”

The mother-of-two has now contacted the Police, Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC), who looks into the way in which complaints against the police are handled and can issue recommendations. She is being assisted by Glasgow MSP, Humza Yousaf.

Sandy Brindley, of Rape Crisis Scotland, said: “We speak to many, many people who feel incredibly let down because when they report historical abuse it doesn’t go anywhere because of a lack of corroboration and there is no justice.

“I think after having the courage to report it, it must be devastating to know that a case can’t proceed.

“It’s particularly an issue in Scotland because of the requirement for corroboration."

A spokeswoman for PIRC said it could not comment while the complaint was under investigation.

If you have been affected by the issues raises in this article contact Rape Crisis Scotland on 08088 01 03 02