A mother-of-three who set up a charity and has worked tirelessly to help prevent child abuse after her own children were victims of a sexual predator has been announced as a winner at the Inspiration Awards for Women.

Marilyn Hawes – who lives in Stevenage – is a former music teacher whose three sons were sexually groomed and assaulted by their headteacher, who was also a close family friend.

Following a police investigation in 2002, Marilyn realised there were many signs she had either missed or not understood.

She began creating training programmes to educate those with a duty of care over children on how to recognise abusers’ behaviour.

In 2004 she set up the charity Enough Abuse UK and today presents training in schools up and down the country, as well as offering support and guidance to those who have been abused.

At the Inspiration for Women Awards in London last month, Marilyn won the Most Inspirational category for her work.

Her nominee, who volunteers for the charity, said: “Marilyn has gone the extra mile in her passion for preventing grooming in child sexual abuse.

“Marilyn has made several sacrifices over the years and has given unconditional time, effort and energy.

“She has never received full recognition in the years since founding Enough Abuse UK.

“I was introduced to Marilyn in November 2015, after my two children were sexually abused.

“I’m also a survivor of sexual abuse, who had a horrific childhood. Now my own children were on that journey and we were in a dilemma.

“Then along came Marilyn, who totally inspired me and, being a mother, felt my pain. I’m now a volunteer for Enough Abuse UK.

“Marilyn is a truly remarkable woman who inspires so many people to raise awareness of grooming, child sexual abuse and child sexual exploitation, and how to move forward.”

Marilyn said: “The votes were from around the world for the work I have done over 14 years preventing child abuse and child sexual exploitation.

“We have no funding, yet we do incredible work in the UK and abroad.”

For more about Enough Abuse UK, visit www.ea-uk.org where you can also make a donation. Alternatively, you can email Marilyn at marilyn.hawes@ea-uk.org or call 07484 541727.