Psychological impact of prosecution for abuse


For those who went through police and justice against their abusers, what did you find difficult or releasing? Before, during and after? What should I know before starting a procedure? I am aware not all plaints go somewhere but I’d be interesting in knowing what has been your experience of a statement, charge, investigation, trial, sentencing. In positive and negative.


I had done some therapy work before the process which was important as they helped with some of the paperwork. Building a support team is essential as it is a lot to go through. Know also that it is a long haul. It can take a toll on you with what gets said to you by people asking for paperwork or information but in some ways it is preparation for when you do the actual court process. So even thought that is difficult it is prep work and working through those emotions, stresses during that part of the process is useful towards working through every step. It also is very time consuming, taxing physically and emotionally.


whew. let me noodle this one around. so i did go through this process as you probably already know. i was a minor and because of the type of charges that my input was actually not required. the crown (canada) would have persued it regardless. there is certain types of crimes which it does not matter what the victim wants. they are persecuted the same way.

i had some good and some very negative experiences with the police. i was told that filing a false police report is a crime. (i was not even filing a f*cking police report.) i was questioned over and over again of my "story" for the consistency. which it was not consistent and often nonsensical or incoherent. and that had meant that i was lying or "mistaken."

a lot of the things i had said were very much received as fanciful. because of the types of things that i had been blurting out. (he killed people! he was killing people i know it!) well no. i never saw him kill any one. i don't know what was going on with that. i was just saying stuff. so it was real hard for them to understand what i was saying which was true or insane.

i was considered not competent to testify. because it was not meaningful what i was saying. and what happened. and a lot of what i was saying at the time was unintelligible garbage. and i still do not really know what was happening at that period of time. that even as an adult it all gets muddled. my mind was kind of all f*cked up.

i did attend the court dates. once that every thing had moved into being within the court. it became much gentler. people were not interrogating me. or what i had felt they were yelling at me. or mad at me. unfortunately that they may not have been doing that. but i was not real aware of what was going on around me.

they showed me around the court. and explained where every one would be and all that kind of things. it was a more gentle experience of that i had felt that people cared about how i felt. and that had come from everyone involved even the other lawyers. the room that things had taken place in was very small. i remember that i thought it would be bigger. there was not too many people in there.

i wish that i could give a more detailed description of the psychological state of things. or even of more specifics. but i generally do not remember a lot and my mental state was too chaotic and f*cked up to rely upon. as an adult i believe your experience will be more "linear" and less bizarre. ultimately that what you had talked about. i would anticipate interacting with people who may give you a hard time. and that you will have to respond to that calmly.

i do wish that i had been more aware of what was going on at the time. i think that having the ability of interacting in that way with the legal system was a very catharthic process. because of having these memories that i could look at and say no. this was insane. this was a crime. every one knew it. everybody knew.

but i was very scared because of all of the ways that i had been trained that if i defied my father that i would be hurt and every one would die. i was convince that he could see into my thoughts and read my mind. and he looked at me the whole time. it was real scary because of that and that i knew that this was hateful and fury all mentally directed to me.

but everybody treated this with reverance at the time. everybody was very solemn and serious and professional. people were horrified. it mattered. i wasn't just a piece of garbage on the street any more. and having that knoweldge now as the adult is a good measure. of some times that i do not quite know what is normal or not. but if i had that as the child at the time. maybe that would have been more imminently impactful.

i have also been involved in testifying in court cases as an adult. and as an adult and in a different country. that is largely similar. people are generally respectful. there is no yelling or screaming like on television. it is a very formal process. the only difference that it could often be very mechanical and procedural.

some times it is like being pelted with "wait now we're going to voir dire. now we're going to. now we're going to. now we're going to examine if we can examine the evidence." before any thing even gets put on the table. and you feel like things are not moving or going any where. and that could be frustrating when you know what happened. that some times it feels like there is not a human component even when there is.

and then some times even within the most heartbreaking and solemn moments. you will find moments of warmth from every participant. it is a very civilized process. and when you are going through something uncivilized. it is very healing to bring civility and reason to it. this is what happened. this is what needs to happen. this was a crime and it was bad.

in my experience that people do their best to bring and be absolutely the most objective that they could be. even with horrifying things.


For those who went through police and justice against their abusers, what did you find difficult or releasing? Before, during and after? What should I know before starting a procedure? I am aware not all plaints go somewhere but I’d be interesting in knowing what has been your experience of a statement, charge, investigation, trial, sentencing. In positive and negative.

Have a support system...therapist, friends, family, attorney, who will give you good and bad possibilities and all the gory details. Preferably a therapist who has been thru this with other clients if possible. Not fun. Depends also on what you are looking to get out of it also. Suggest you verify with your therapist and attorney if it's a realistic expectation. Good luck. You sound like a brave soul.


My reports did not get prosecuted. Nevertheless it was a whirlwind of emotion and definitely knocked my faith in society and the police and justice system. That’s become quite a stumbling block in life .

however - despite it creating some real issues with retraumatisation and some nasty taste on my mouth I would still report now.
Things I would do differently-
I would not make a report without a very experienced advocate. Having done with and without a good advocate changed the experience significantly.

I would go in knowing what I want doesn’t matter.

I would remind myself that I was reporting for MY reasons which mainly focused ( rightly or wrongly )on other people’s safety in the future and how I would feel if I hadn’t reported and other things happened.

the second time I was pretty fully prepped, had had therapy and had an advocate - I still slept solidly for 72 hours afterwards in a solid freeze reaction of sleep.

I have also chosen not to report historic abuse that was not addressed when I was a child because the situation is no longer dangerous to others and I don’t think the heightened emotional pressure is worth it for ME. I’m personally not interested I. The justice system much as it stands.