Two Basingstoke residents sexually abused by a relative have courageously waived their right to anonymity to speak out in the hope of encouraging more survivors to come forward.

For years, Rob Freeman and his aunt, Julia Dinneen, suffered at the hands of David Morison Barker, a Basingstoke man jailed earlier this month for historic child abuse charges.

“[Reporting him] was one of the best things I’ve ever done and I would do it again if I had to. I feel loads better for it,” Julia, who was assaulted by her brother-in-law for three years in the 1970s, told The Gazette.

Both had suppressed the memory of the abuse for years, but felt it was important to come forward in the knowledge that speaking out may help others gain the confidence to report their abuser.

Now, the pair want to send a message to victims that it is never too late to come forward and get justice – even years after the crimes have occurred.

Barker was Rob’s father and subjected him abuse during his childhood in Basingstoke. Rob said: “I want the message to get out there that he started out with one person and it has carried on for years.

“Eleven years ago, he was still looking at children,” he said, referring to his father’s conviction in 2010 of possession child abuse images.

“They don’t change, you can’t change someone and what they like sexually.”

Barker, now of Cabus Nook Lane in Lancashire, was jailed for 12 years after being found guilty of five counts of indecent assault of a child at a trial at Salisbury Crown Court.

The NSPCC estimates as many as one in 20 children suffer sexual abuse while figures show 93 per cent of children know their abuser. Only 10 per cent of victims are abused by a stranger.

According to The Young Women’s Christian Association, the vast majority of abusers target children they know.

A spokesman said: “A common myth is that child sexual abuse is perpetrated by strangers and paedophiles. But most people who sexually abuse children are our friends, partners, and community members.

“About 93 per cent of children who are victims of sexual abuse know their abuser. Less than 10 per cent of sexually abused children are abused by a stranger.”

Rob first reported his father to the police in 2000 but no action was taken. He plucked up the courage to report him again in 2018 but said it was initially “a bit of a struggle” getting Hampshire Constabulary to take action as he’d already reported it.

But after they found the allegations had not been investigated back then, he says he was taken seriously and said that the police were “brilliant”.

“I had a few emails going back and forwards so I had to be quite stubborn and say that I wanted this looked at,” he said in an interview with The Gazette.

“They went off for a couple of days, they came back and said there was no record of anything, no investigation was done.

“Once they were satisfied nothing had been done, they said we could move forward and would send someone to speak with me.

“When [police officer Dan Leese] came here, he was really professional, made me feel at ease, he asked me some questions, asked me if it would be okay to do an interview another time, so it gave me time to get over the initial meeting.

“He said this might take a while, and it did, it took ages, but he’s been brilliant.”

Julia heard through a family member that Rob had gone to the police to report the abuse he faced, and said that initially she “wasn’t very happy”.

“It was 50 years ago for me,” she said, saying that she had “blocked it out”.

But after receiving the “satisfaction of justice” after all those years, she said that she would come forward again should she need to.

Salisbury Crown Court was told during the trial that Barker, who had moved to Cabus Nook Lane in Lancashire, had sexually abused his son, Rob, during a game of hide and seek.

The now 70-year-old took him upstairs and went to hide in space under a bed, where he told him “this is what is preparing you to be an adult male, it’s our secret” and assaulted him.

Julia was just nine years old when her brother-in-law – 12 years her senior – started to abuse her, and it carried on for three years of her childhood.

When asked what her advice would be to anyone who has suffered a similar experience to her, the 58-year-old said: “Come forward, speak up, don’t hide it, talk.”

Meanwhile her nephew Rob added: “If you haven’t got the courage just yet, speak to someone and do it in the future.

“If you are one of these people doing this to your kids, in 40 years’ time you might be in the same place as him.

“It is a big weight lifted off of us that someone has believed us.”

During the court proceedings, the pair were subjected to a gruelling process which included being cross-examined by Barker’s defence barrister, Sharon Watson

Rob said he chose to stay focused and held his cool, adding: “I had to tell her that I was telling the truth and that was it.”

  • Children can contact Childline 24/7 on 0800 1111. Adults concerned about the wellbeing of a child can phone the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000 or email