COME forward and tell your story.

That is the message from one of the victims of child sex offender Robert James.

The 40-year-old victim, who suffered three years of abuse at the hands of the convicted sex offender in the 1980s, has spoken out to encourage others to be brave.

He now lives in Bournemouth, but is still struggling to deal with James' actions 27 years on.

He said: "One thing I have learnt is I needn't be ashamed.

"My message is come forward.

"It doesn't matter when it happened to you, come forward.

"People will believe you - not everyone, but there is somewhere to go now.

"Come forward and take away the power of the people that do this.

"It's going to be hard, but you can beat them.

"Come forward and start living again - do not let them win."

The victim had been self-harming right up until the trial date this year, is currently trying to come off anti-depressants and is still receiving counselling.

He says the events of that period changed his life.

"When it happened I tried to tell somebody, but when it happened to me there was nowhere to go - where do you go? Where did anyone go then?

"But he carried on and I have got to live with that. There was no Childline or social services."

The victim says he is only now starting to deal with what happened to him.

He said: "Admitting to myself and asking for help, the police support, my GP's support - between all of that, things are starting to change.

"But it would never have happened without that mix."

Before this happened he was like any other teenager with high hopes.

He said: "When it first happened to me I was studying, I was not a brilliant student, but a normal lad.

"I was in agricultural school and I was studying I was ready to go into an agricultural college, which meant I could have earned my ticket anywhere in the world."

Instead he says he was left after the experience an aggressive alcoholic who self-harmed.

"If when you were 13 years old somebody you had known for three years sexually abused you, do you feel you would have carried on the course where you were going?" he said.

He points to the help available to all those who are in a similar situation, particularly the police and the rape crisis unit.

"The police were completely supportive from just trying to make that initial phone call."

He also attacked what he saw as the leniency of the courts.

"Do you feel that is the sentence for justice?"

"Do you want people like him around?

"It's down to us all to shut them down."