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6 October, 2023

Tilly’s story

Screen shot - This is a true story
“Who I was then and who I am now are two completely different people.”

North Yorkshire Police have been working with a young survivor of sexual assault, in a bid to inspire confidence and build trust with others who may have been through a similar harrowing experience.

Earlier this year, 16-year-old Tilly contacted North Yorkshire Police to ask if a poem she had written about her experience of could be used to help other victims and survivors.

At age 14, Tilly was subjected to a serious sexual assault by an adult she looked up to and trusted. She bravely told someone about what had happened to her and they made a report to police.

Her report was handed to one of North Yorkshire Police’s dedicated detectives, who carried out a detailed and thorough investigation and built a case which successfully put the person responsible for Tilly’s ordeal behind bars for ten years.

But not only that, the detective also safeguarded Tilly, ensuring she was referred to partner agencies who have supported her and have helped her recover and move on with her life.

For the past three months the force has been working closely with Tilly to turn her story into a moving animation. The animation, named ‘Tilly’s Story’ will be shared across the force’s social media channels, with the aim of reaching out to others who may have lived through an experience like Tilly’s, in a bid to build confidence in making a report to police.

The animation will also be shared with the force’s safeguarding partners and will also form a central part of the educational content used in local secondary schools by school liaison officers.

Speaking about the animation Tilly said,

“I’m really pleased with ‘Tilly’s Story’. It’s been a great experience to work with North Yorkshire Police to turn my poem into an animation.

“I initially wrote the poem for myself, as a way of moving forward and putting this awful experience behind me. But then I thought, if my poem can help me, perhaps it could help others. So, I contacted North Yorkshire Police to see if they could help. We worked together on some ideas and now the animation is ready to be shared.

“I really hope sharing my story helps others. Even if it makes just the smallest difference to someone, I’ll be happy.”

Assistant Chief Constable Scott Bisset, force lead for Safeguarding said,

“We’re incredibly thankful to Tilly for coming to us and asking us to help share her story. It’s an incredibly brave thing for a young person, who has gone through such a horrific experience, to do.

“Everyone at North Yorkshire Police is in awe of Tilly’s bravery, her selflessness, and her determination to turn this negative experience into something positive which will help others.

“Hopefully we have done her poem justice and that anyone who has experienced something similar to Tilly, who sees her story, feels reassured and confident that if they do report it to police, we will listen to them.

“We take all reports of sexual assault incredibly seriously. We recognise the courage it takes to pick up the phone and make that call. To those who do, I can assure you that we will take positive action to bring about justice and do everything we can to safeguard and support you.”

To download your own copy of Tilly’s story, you can visit the Campaign page here Tilly’s Story | North Yorkshire Police

You can also share the animation from the North Yorkshire Police Facebook page

Please use the hashtag #TillysStory

Reporting rape or sexual assault to North Yorkshire Police

  • To report a sexual assault or rape to North Yorkshire Police, you can call 999 in an emergency or 101 in an non-emergency.
  • If you are more comfortable reporting online, you can report online

Other agencies who can help

If you do not want to report to police, there are other agencies who are able to offer support and advice.

  • IDAS is the largest specialist charity in the North supporting people affected by domestic abuse and sexual violence. You can find more information on their website www.idas.org.uk or contact them 03000 110 110.
  • Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) – Victims who would prefer not to go direct to the police and are not in immediate danger, can contact Bridge House, North Yorkshire’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC), on 0330 223 0362, email bridgehouse.sarc@nhs.net or go to www.bridgehousesarc.org
  • You can also contact Supporting Victims in North Yorkshire at www.supportingvictims.org or call 01609 643100.
  • Survive – Survive offers specialist counselling and support work to all adults across North Yorkshire who have experienced sexual trauma – the term we use to describe the long term effects of sexual violence. Find out more on their website here – Sexual abuse support services in York | Survive, York (survive-northyorks.org.uk)
  • Anyone concerned about a child can contact the NSPCC Helpline for advice on 0808 800 5000. Adult victims of non-recent sexual abuse can also get in touch for support.
  • For young people, Childline is available on 0800 1111 or at www.childline.org.uk
  • Details on how to contact North Yorkshire Safeguarding Children Partnership can be found on their website  – www.safeguardingchildren.co.uk
  • Details on how to contact City of York Safeguarding Children Partnership (CYSCP) can be found on their website – www.saferchildrenyork.org.uk