Michelle Sallis Wiki- Michelle Sallis Biography
Michelle Sallis A young woman who was raped by her stepfather as a child has slammed the lack of support for survivors of abuse.
Michelle Sallis, 27, from Wigan, Greater Manchester, was subjected to horrific sexual abuse by her depraved stepfather, David Sallis, who is now beginning a 14-year jail term after admitting his crimes at Preston Crown Court.
Michelle, an auxiliary nurse, is critical of Victim Support, who, she said, offered her no help or advice during the court process.
Now, the 27-year-old is speaking out to raise awareness of the need for change.
Michelle said: ‘At the court hearing, the defending barrister said my stepdad had been working hard in prison and taking part in all sorts of schemes and rehabilitation programs.
‘I, on the other hand, had no support at all. I wanted to tell them that actually I had been working hard every day too, living with horrific trauma, and hadn’t even been offered counseling.
‘I am the victim, yet I feel all the emphasis was on him.
‘I can absolutely understand why victims of abuse don’t speak out and don’t follow cases through to court, because there just isn’t enough help.
‘We have a flawed system that supports paedophiles more than victims. The person who committed the worst crimes gets the most support.’
In the run up to her court case, Michelle was promised help from Victim Support.
She said: ‘The officer explained there were many things they could do to make the court case more bearable, such as looking around the court, or giving evidence behind a screen.
‘I asked Victim Support if I could visit the court room, as I was very anxious about it, I’d never been in a court before.
‘They promised me they’d arrange it, but they never did.
‘When I rang, I spoke to a different person every time. I was told I wasn’t on their system.
‘The trial was adjourned three times. The first two times, Victim Support didn’t let me know and I had to ring the court myself.
‘The third time, Victim Support rang only the night before. I had taken time off work; my friends had arranged to come with me and it all had to be cancelled.
‘More than that, the emotional impact of building up to the trial, and then it being canceled the night before, was very stressful.
‘My employers asked for a letter, to confirm the court dates, and again, Victim Support told me they couldn’t find me on their system. It took weeks of me calling to sort it out.
‘When the trial finally went ahead, it was moved from Burnley Crown Court to Preston Crown Court, but nobody told me. It was just lucky I contacted the CPS direct.
‘By this time, I was feeling stress and anxiety and I had to source counselling myself, through my employer. Victim Support offered me nothing.
Michelle Sallis Age
Michelle Sallis Age is 27 years old.
Stepfather raped me from the age of 8 and I got not help from Victim Support
‘I just hope, by speaking out, I can make the courts and their services aware of how important it is to support abuse survivors through the justice process.
‘It’s not ok to leave victims to cope alone. I had no support from my family, which was another burden I had to carry. I felt very isolated.
‘The only person who really looked after me was the officer, Phil Scott. Without him, I doubt I’d even have got to try.’
Michelle’s despair was confounded when she heard that her rapist stepfather had himself been offered a range of schemes and programs whilst on remand.
She says: ‘He was praised, in court, for taking part in rehab, yet I, the victim, had been offered nothing. It defies belief.’
Michelle bravely read her own personal statement in court, saying: ‘The only person who picked up the phone and explained things to me was the officer in charge of my case.
‘I am yet to receive any support from victim support and am yet to be assigned a support officer.
‘I didn’t even know the date of this sentencing, I found out from the Crown Prosecution Service.
‘Do I not deserve an explanation, or do victims just need to be left in the dark? Things need to change.
‘I should not have to wait for a call from the officer so he can explain what the next steps are.
‘The NSPCC published a report into child sexual abuse statistics which showed one in 20 children in the UK had been sexually abused.
‘More recent statistics from Rape Crisis show that one in six children have been abused.
‘We are told about how many women and children are victims of these crimes, but never about how many men commit these crimes.
‘We are told about how many victims of harassment there are, but never about how many men are committing the harassments.
‘We are told statistics about teenage pregnancies, but never about the boys and men getting pregnant.
‘Men aren’t even part of it. ‘A change needs to be made.’
Despite her ordeal, Michelle is determined not to be ruled by her past, and she is now moving forwards. She lives with her partner, James Maroun, 25, an assistant manager in retail and nutrition expert.
She says: ‘Relationships have been difficult for me.
‘Aged 16, I met my first boyfriend, but I always seemed to end up with the wrong type of man. My self-esteem was very low, and I was drinking too much. I felt like I was always running away from my trauma.
‘I was in emotionally abusive relationships because that was all I felt I was worth. Meeting James has been a real turning point. ‘He is kind and supportive and we are very much in love.’
DC Phil Scott, of East CID, said: ‘The victim has shown tremendous courage throughout this process. The way she dealt with such a heinous crime has been truly inspirational. Most people could not comprehend what she has lived through.
‘I welcome the sentence handed down Sallis, which reflects the seriousness of his crime.’
A spokesperson from Victim Support said: ‘We want to say a huge apology to Michelle, we are incredibly sorry to hear her account of not getting the support she needed from our services. It is absolutely vital that all victim-survivors are listened to and get timely, specialist and tailored support to help them cope and recover.
‘We hold ourselves to a very high standard and want to reassure that we remain dedicated to delivering support that meets the needs of victim-survivors.
We acknowledge Michelle’s experience and take it very seriously – we are taking steps to establish why this happened and to ensure it does not happen again.’