"We were all excited about the big move. It ticked all the boxes. The promotion for my dad, being closer to family for mum, better sports facilities for my sister, and for me a chance to flee the years and years of sexual abuse I had been suffering. Abuse that no one else in the world knew anything about.

I remember during my first few weeks in my new school, we had to make a “bucket list”. My English teacher laughed and told me “I would make a grand Lawyer one day” and skipped onto Peadar beside me who was planning to buy a one-way ticket across the world, first stop Hawaii.

I kept what I wrote that day, and still with pride look at it, in large bold writing I had written one line “I want to tell my story in a court room.“ Studying Law was of no interest to me, I wanted one day to tell a court room about how I had been sexually abused by one of my dad’s cousins. I wanted him to be there, I wanted everyone to know.” And then, when it was done, no matter what the outcome, I probably wouldn’t be far behind Peader on a flight to Hawaii.

Sunday lunch had become a new tradition since moving and after second helpings of Granny’s Trifle I picked up The Sunday Times and read an article written by Maeve Lewis about the Criminal Justice system in Ireland. It was focused on the survivor. I had never stepped inside a court room, I still hadn’t told anyone what happened to me, but when I read the article, I felt that Maeve understood.

That night I went onto their site and made a small donation to One in Four and emailed them. I didn’t say too much, just said I wanted some advice. The significance of my message remains with me to this day. I got a response the next morning but change didn’t come over night. I had sent that email not long after graduation from UCD, and it was 8 years before I would see the inside of a courtroom.

I was appointed an Advocacy Case Manager that week. It wasn’t like they called me and read a list of options to me. At the start they just listened, and I just talked. I talked and talked, over several cups of coffee I told them everything, and they understood, they believed me, they were there for me.

I never got to Hawaii but soon after my court case we did take a family holiday to the sun. The first morning there I sat down and wrote a long and detailed thank you letter. I wanted to thank my Advocacy Case Manager at One in Four. They prepared me for the “long bumpy journey” and stuck with me every step of the way. From exploring my reporting options to liaising with The Gardaí and my solicitors. They treated me like a real person, they were on my side. They accompanied me to court during the trial, helping me with my Impact statement and always stayed in contact with me, even checking in on me after the trial.

I don’t want to talk too much about him or the trial, now is not the time. And for me the verdict was never the goal, I couldn’t control the outcome of the trial, but I could stand in front of him, his peers and tell everyone what he had done. That was my goal, I had marked it off my bucket list.

There’s definitely better ways survivors could be treated through the criminal justice system but thankfully One in Four understand that. Their professionalism was matched with their compassion and integrity and for that I will be eternally grateful."