Abused as a child by her mum’s boyfriend, a 19-year-old Fixer from Somerset is urging single parents to approach new relationships with caution.
Her story was shown on ITV News West Country (W) in December 2014.
‘Paige’, whose real name has not been used to protect her identity, suffered for three years from the age of 8, before her abuser was caught and jailed.
She now wants to help protect other children from abuse, by showing mums and dads the signs and changes in behaviour that could suggest something is wrong.
‘At first he wanted to be my friend so he was taking me out and buying me expensive gifts,’ Paige explains.
‘Then it got a bit more serious. He would touch my hair and help me get dressed.
‘After a year of gaining my confidence, the physical abuse started.
‘I knew it was wrong but he said he would hurt my family if I told anyone.
‘My personality changed. I was quiet and I just wanted to be on my own. I was a lot naughtier and angrier towards my mum.
‘One day my mum came home unexpectedly and the police were called.
‘She had no idea and she blamed herself. He was very clever and he manipulated everyone.’
With Fixers, Paige has helped create a film based on her experiences. She hopes it will help parents identify when something isn’t right.
You can watch the film ‘Behind Closed Doors’ below.
In the broadcast piece, Paige shows her Fixers film to Ali Hart from PROMISE Mentoring and Advocacy, an organisation that supports young people in Somerset.
‘Wow. It’s actually made me go quite shivery. It’s very, very powerful,’ Ali comments.
‘Single parents need to ask questions about new partners' backgrounds and about previous relationships.
'If things don’t seem to add up, then they shouldn’t just brush it under the carpet.’
Paige adds: ‘Making the film has been amazing. It’s helping me to move forward and gain control of my life.
‘I would like mums and dads to know that it’s not bad dating someone. Just be careful and get to know the person before you introduce them to your children.'
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Fixer Sadie is also raising awareness of child abuse and urging those
with concerns about a child's safety to speak out. Watch her Fixers film.