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Experiences Shared


All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

From his care records that he obtained as an adult, Broden knows that he was found in a cot at the age of three years, suffering from terrible neglect. 

He was in the care system on and off until he was 18, and during this time he was sexually, physically and emotionally abused. 

Broden was placed in a nursery home until he was five years old, when he was sent to live with an elderly couple. He remembers feeling excited about arriving at a large house, full of children, but this happiness was short-lived.

He stayed there for three years, and during this time the couple did not give any of the children any affection or nurturing. If one of them misbehaved even slightly, all of them would be smacked or beaten. 

When Broden was nine, he was returned to his mother for a time. They lived in a caravan with a man called Kevin. Broden had no toys and he was caught stealing one from a shop. 

From that day, Kevin began mistreating Broden, forcing him to sit at the table for hours on end. He was locked in his room at night while his mother and Kevin went to the pub. He could not get out to use the toilet and sometimes he had accidents in his room. 

Broden tried to tell a social worker what was happening. She could see the lock on the outside of his bedroom door, but she did not take any action.

Kevin did not beat Broden; he made Broden’s mother do it. But Broden was still terrified of him. Once he ran away but was found by the police and brought home. 

When he was 12 years old, Broden was taken back into care. Kevin tracked him down and arranged to have him stay for Christmas. By this time, Broden’s mother had moved on.

Kevin claimed that Broden’s room was damp, and said for this reason they would be sleeping in the same room. He gave Broden beer and whisky and made him ‘drink and drink’. Broden says he felt sick, but he was excited he was being given alcohol. 

When Broden got into bed, Kevin pulled his pyjamas down and put his hands all over him. He remembers the smell of whisky on Kevin’s breath, and feeling the man’s erection. Broden tried to resist Kevin, but he persisted and masturbated Broden and tried to rape him. 

The next day Broden remembers feeling that no one would believe him if he told them what had happened. Kevin had been in the armed forces, whereas he was a young boy who had started to get into trouble with the police. 

A few weeks later he was placed with new foster parents. It was a loving and stable family, and he was very happy there. He says he never told anyone about the sexual abuse ‘out of shame’. Instead, he says ‘I tried to forget what had happened, but it has never left me’.  

Broden believes his life has been shaped by his early experiences. He left school without any qualifications and became involved in petty crime. He tried to take his own life when he was 17. He suffers with anxiety, flashbacks and panic attacks. He has difficulties trusting people and having relationships. 

When Kevin died, Broden went to his funeral. He says he cried, because his last chance for justice had gone.

He feels angry and let down that social services did not act when he told them what was happening with Kevin and his mother, and they allowed him to go to Kevin’s place for Christmas.

He would like to see thorough background checks carried out on anyone looking after children. He adds that the police should always question why children are running away, and not just return them home.

For many years Broden was in and out of trouble, but after he had his own children, he says he was able to change his life. 

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