After: Surviving sexual assault - Episode 1: Tom

After: Surviving sexual assault - Episode 1: Tom

Yesterday marked the launch of my podcast with BBC Sounds. I sat down to have a chat with the wonderful Tom Leavesley-Matthews, who talked to me about what happened to him when he was 11, the justice he received & how he has coped afterwards. Tom is so well spoken and speaking to him was so incredibly validating - I’m proud to now call Tom a friend….

Listen here:

Tom Leavesley-Matthews was 11 when he was sexually abused after a period of grooming. It took him many years to realise what had happened to him. But at the age of 29, he went to the police, and his abuser was convicted five years ago.

He talks to fellow survivor Catriona about the abuse he experienced and what it was like to report it to the police many years later. He also talks about the long-term loneliness he experienced, particularly after he told his family and friends about what happened to him.

This episode contains discussion of sexual abuse directly and the suicidal thoughts and loneliness it can cause. If you don’t feel like listening to details of sexual abuse, that’s fine. You can head straight to the next episode of After, to hear how Tom has coped since.

If you've been affected by child sexual abuse or violence, you can find details of organisations in the UK who offer help and support at

Presented by Catriona Morton, After is a 10-part series, featuring discussions between survivors of sexual abuse and assault about what happened to them and how they cope now.

Produced by Danielle Stephens. The Executive Producer is Clare Chadburn. It is a Wisebuddah production for BBC Sounds.

Episode 2: Alissa