BACKGROUND TO LIZ’S CASE
At the age of 8, Liz was sexually abused by her eldest brother Andrew Herbert who is 8 years older than her. This negatively impacted her personal and professional life for 50 years until she finally sought justice in 2020.
As a former police officer in Avon and Somerset in the 1980s, Liz had witnessed first hand the way victims of sexual assault were generally treated by the police. This experience had been a contributing factor to the 50 year delay in coming forward and ‘trusting the process’.
PROFESSIONAL & ACADEMIC BACKGROUND
In 1989 Liz began what was to become a highly successful career within the Pharmaceutical Industry spanning over 30 years. During this time, she derived the greatest satisfaction from working at the ‘coal face’, collaborating with healthcare organisations in order to improve the lives of patients blighted by addictions and other mental health conditions.
This passion led to the completion of a Masters in Drugs and Alcohol: Policies and Interventions at the Imperial College, London and the publication of her first book, “Opiate Addiction – How To Become Drug Free” in 2020. Far from being a simple ‘self-help manual’, this guide provides the reader with an unbiased account about the causes of opioid addiction, the treatment options available, and how they work.
'Great Resource:. This is an informative, easy read on this subject which will suit knowledge levels from novice to experienced from service user to service providers.'
OPERATION SOTERIA BLUESTONE
Fortunately, at the time Herbert’s offences were reported, Avon and Somerset Constabulary was the pilot force for ‘Project Bluestone’, a government initiative aimed at improving charge rates for sexual offences.
The subsequent police investigation resulted in Herbert being convicted on 10 counts of indecent assault against Liz and another victim of a similar age. Following the trial, Liz took the decision to waive her anonymity and engage with various organisations in order to not only highlight the devastating impact familial sexual abuse has on victims and their families, but also to provide a ‘lived experience’ of the legal system and, in particular, Operation Soteria Bluestone.
“The unfair burden that comes to rest on a victim of crimes such as yours is intense. The lifelong oppression suffered by those who are victims of such offences must be at the forefront of the judge’s mind when sentencing for these offences. The repressed voices of children have now resonated through half a century of suffering and turmoil. The cruel, criminal abuse of the young is now revealed
through the mists of time. It is to be remembered that you were a child yourself the time of the offending. I recognise your own harrowing background, but you are the perpetrator in this, not the victim. You need to banish any element of self-pity and any possible victim blaming. You were considerably older than your victims and perfectly well able to distinguish right from wrong.”
JUDGE JULIAN, BRISTOL BROWN COURT, 4TH NOVEMBER 2022