Officers have praised the courage of a woman after the man who abused her as a child was jailed.
Mark Smith was sentenced to 13 years and 6 months’ imprisonment at Basildon Crown Court on Friday 14 July, having previously admitted rape and assault by penetration.
He must serve an extended licence period of one year.
The 30-year-old had forced a girl to engage in a sexual act at an address on Canvey Island on 4 June 2016.
The victim reported to us that he had threatened her to make her go through with it and told her that it was their “little secret”.
She said she felt to embarrassed and scared to tell anyone what happened and was left feeling it was her fault.
As a result of the assault, the victim experienced significant struggles with her mental health to the point that she needed professional help.
It was at that point, in August 2019, that the offences were disclosed to us.
Smith, of Florian Avenue, Sutton, was arrested following month and when initially interviewed denied remembering the incident stating he couldn’t recall if he was at the address on that day.
He was later charged with rape and assault by penetration and admitted the offences at Basildon Crown Court on 30 March last year.
He was also sentenced for a separate count of causing a child to engage in sexual activity without consent.
This offence was committed by Smith while on court bail, in January 2022.
Victim showed incredible bravery
Speaking after sentencing, investigating officer Detective Constable Victoria Leese, from the Child Abuse Investigation Team, said:
“I want to praise the courage shown by the victim in this case, who went through an awful ordeal which has had a long-lasting impact. “No-one should experience what she has, and she has shown incredibly bravery in telling us what happened. “Mark Smith threatened her and forced her to take part in a sexual act. His actions are despicable and I am please he has now been held accountable for them. “I hope this result will help the victim move forward. “I would also pay tribute to the family of the victims, whose bravery and trust in the police and throughout this process has been steadfast.”
Synergy Essex provides support and guidance for survivors of sexual and sexual abuse across Essex. The Essex Rape Crisis Partnership is formed of three organisations:
• CARA (Centre for Action on Rape and Abuse) who cover mid and north Essex • SERICC (Rape and Sexual Abuse Specialist Service) who cover South and West Essex • SOS Rape Crisis who cover Southend, Castle Point and Rochford
Survivors can self-refer and receive emotional support, specialist sexual violence and abuse counselling and or specialist advocacy services, no matter when the sexual violence or abuse occurred.
In addition to this, they also offer support to survivor’s loved ones.
For more information about how to get support, visit their website: Sexual violence support and advice Essex (synergyessex.org.uk)