Former Neighbours star Madeleine West has said she was sexually abused as a child.
The actor, now 42 years old, said that she was abused over a period of five years, beginning at the age of five.
“I knew from the beginning that it wasn’t right,” she told Australian news organisation News Corp. “You’re told that you are at fault. That you somehow enjoy it, that you brought it on.
“A child can never consent.”
West played Dee Bliss on Neighbours between 2000 and 2003. She later returned to the soap opera in a different role, playing Andrea Somers from 2017 to 2020.
She went on to say that the abuse was a factor that motivated her to pursue acting.
“Part of the reason I went into acting was to wear someone else’s skin, to hide what was actually happening in my life,” she said.
“You carry a lot of scar tissue.”
West hosts an eight-part podcast series called Predatory, alongside former detective Gary Jubelin. The series tackles the issue of paedophilia, and has seen West call for Australia to adopt several law changes, including the implementation of a national public child sex register.
“This monster ruined my life,” West said. “[But] I feel like I’ve come full circle. I can stand up and say ‘this happened to me and I’m moving beyond it’, and there are people out there who need to be answerable for what they’ve done.
“Justice can be achieved. It was never, and never will be, your fault, you are not to blame.”
Additional reporting by PA
If you are a child and you need help because something has happened to you, you can call the NSPCC free of charge on 0800 1111. You can also call the NSPCC if you are an adult and you are worried about a child, on 0808 800 5000. The National Association for People Abused in Childhood (Napac) offers support for adults on 0808 801 0331.