North East Wales

John Allen trial sees demand rise for sex abuse charity

John Allen led away Image copyright Andrew Price
Image caption Allen's abuse was carried out over more than 20 years

A charity that works with adults who were sexually abused as children has seen a rise in referrals in the wake of the John Allen trial.

Wrexham-based Stepping Stones had 65 new referrals between 1 October and 30 November compared to 349 in 2013-14.

The 19% increase in victims seeking help has put pressure on limited funding, says the body's founder.

Paedophile former care home boss Allen was jailed for life on Monday.

He was the first person to be convicted under Operation Pallial, which was set up in 2012 to investigate new allegations of historical abuse in north Wales care homes.

'Very distressing'

Image caption John Allen's trial has persuaded abuse victims to seek help, says Jennie Henderson

Stepping Stones received extra funding from the Home Office to deal with an increased workload when the operation was established.

It has 20 counsellors based across north Wales and has seen 50 referrals directly related to Operation Pallial since its launch.

Founder and trustee of the charity Jennie Henderson said: "Even if they're not directly victims of those people, the fact that it's in the media can be very distressing for people.

"It's coming into to their living rooms, uninvited, unexpectedly triggering all sorts of memories of their own abuse.

"It can encourage people that perhaps haven't come forward and think 'yes, maybe I'll be believed, maybe it's time to go [for help].'"

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