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Sex abuse victim waives anonymity to speak to newspaper

georgie-childsAn editor has praised a “brave and inspiring” sex abuse victim who waived her right to anonymity to speak to his newspaper.

Georgie Childs, left, spoke to the Kentish Gazette after it covered the case of art teacher Robert Appleby, who was jailed for abusing her and another pupil at Herne Bay High School.

Appleby, of Stablegate Mews, Canterbury, was sentenced to seven years and nine months’ imprisonment in February, although the sentence was later reduced to six years by the Court of Appeal.

He had initially denied the charges involving Georgie, having earlier admitted similar offences against a second victim.

Georgie, who was 14 at the time of the offences but is now 27, told the Gazette’s chief reporter Gerry Warren that she wanted to encourage other victims to report abuse.

She said: “I am only speaking out to encourage victims in my situation to come forward, there is no need to suffer in silence. I would like to raise awareness of this abuse and try to break down the taboo surrounding the subject.”

“I would encourage any victim who has suffered any form of abuse to come forward and speak out. You are all survivors.”

Georgie has suffered chronic depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder after her ordeal which has also affected her relationships.

Gazette editor Leo Whitlock said: “Georgie is both incredibly brave and inspiring. She wanted her voice to be heard so that other people who have suffered abuse find the courage to come forward.

“Gerry gained Georgie’s trust very early on but worked hard to ensure she remained in control of the process and that there was absolutely no pressure on our part. If Georgie had changed her mind, that would have been absolutely fine.”

Under the law, the victims of sexual offences are afforded lifelong anonymity the moment they make an allegation.

However, they can give consent in writing to being identified, provided no person interfered unreasonably with their peace or comfort to obtain that consent.