TWO sexual abuse victims who have shown bravery and strength while helping to bring their attacker to justice have been praised by police.

In her teens, Selina Sharafi, now 37, abused two younger girls, with one victim describing her as a “sexual predator”.

Sharafi, of Devon Road, Hebburn, denied her abusive past but in December, at Newcastle Crown Court, she was found guilty of five cases of indecent assault. As Sharafi was under the age of 18 when the offences were committed, she was sentenced as a minor, with a judge imposing a 20-month jail term.

In a statement, which was read out in court, one victim spoke of her relief that the jury found Sharafi guilty.

She spoke about the effects of the abuse she suffered, how it caused her to spiral into a depression and even attempt to take her own life.

She said: “I can say I lost hope at ever becoming anything in life, it has knocked my confidence in so many ways and had an unbearable effect on my life.

“I really hope this sentencing gives me the closure I need and I am able to move on with my career that I have worked so hard to achieve.”

The officer in charge of the case, Detective Sergeant Michelle Gregory, has praised the victims for coming forward.

She said: “The two girls in this particular case showed an incredible amount of bravery and it is because of this Sharafi has been held accountable for her actions.

“Sharafi’s actions caused her victims to suffer a great deal as children and that suffering continued into adulthood, haunting them at every stage of life.

“I am amazed by the victims’ bravery and strength and I sincerely hope the conviction has given them some comfort.

“I appeal to anyone who has, or is, suffering similar abuse to please come forward and speak to police.

“We will give you every support possible and work hard to bring your attacker to justice.

“Cases like this show a conviction is possible.

“Nobody should have to live with a secret like this, please come forward.”

Anyone who has been a victim of rape, sexual assault or abuse, recent or historic, is asked to contact police on 101 or report via the “Tell Us Something” page of the Northumbria Police website.

To contact the 24/7 Crisis Helpline contact 0333-344-8283 or find out more about the Sexual Assault Referral Centre by searching REACH SARC online.