A woman, who endured severe sexual assault during her childhood, is urging fellow survivors not to stay silent, having witnessed her assailant receive a 14-year prison sentence.

The woman, residing in Huddersfield and choosing to remain anonymous, spoke out following the recent sentencing of 78-year-old George Grace from Royston in Barnsley. Grace was sentenced at Leeds Crown Court on November 10, having been found guilty of rape and two counts of indecent assault. The crimes occurred between 1985 and 1992 in the Huddersfield area when the survivor was a young child.

The Kirklees District child safeguarding officers initiated a new investigation leading to George Grace being charged in July 2022.

Speaking after sentencing, the survivor said: “My message to other women and men who have gone through this is to contact the police and get justice.

“You are stronger than you think and I can promise the support is really there for you. Pre-trial and post-trial, there is help in place and it is worth its weight in gold.

The survivor said she had been overwhelmed when the guilty verdict had been delivered which was a unanimous decision by the jury against Grace. She added she was still processing this.

DC Megan Boothroyd of the Kirklees District Child Safeguarding Team, said: “George Grace committed dreadful offences against a then young child over a sustained period and we welcome the sentence imposed by the courts against him.

“She has shown great courage in coming forward and doing everything she possibly could to ensure Grace was put before the courts.

“We continue to urge anyone who has been a victim of a sexual offence and has not reported it, for whatever reason, to contact the police.

“All reports are thoroughly investigated by specialist officers who can also signpost victims to the help and support they may need.”