Quick Exit

Experiences Shared


All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Carol was put on the child protection register due to neglect. She was sexually abused by men of two generations in her foster family and subsequently by staff and residents in a care home. She tried to tell social workers about the sexual abuse but was never believed.

Carol’s dad had left their family home and her mum used to leave her on her own to go to the pub, often returning drunk with men.

One night a neighbour heard Carol’s screams, the police and social services were called, and she was made a ward of court. Being placed with foster carers did not make her life any safer. Carol describes them as terrible; they abused her physically and mentally, although their daughter became her protector.

Carol was often locked in a room and went without meals but her social worker refused to believe her account of what was happening.

During one summer holiday, Carol was sent to stay with the parents of one of her foster carers. When she accidently dropped something, the father told her to go into the shed and take her clothes off. Carol said he got out his penis and made her masturbate him.

She recounts what a horrendous experience this was – she was shaking and crying, and she wet herself. Afterwards he slapped her and told her if she said anything she would go back into care.

About two weeks later he sexually abused her again, this time rubbing himself between her legs. Again, Carol tried to report the sexual abuse and was not believed by her social worker; instead she was told that the family was ‘lovely’.

One day, the foster carers announced to Carol that as she wasn’t their daughter she could no longer live with them. They packed her belongings, dropped her with her bags outside a children’s home and drove off.

Carol was petrified. She was taken screaming and fighting into her room and strapped into her bed until the following day. Carol was at the home for many years. She says the manager of the home hated her, she was starved, had no Christmas presents and when she broke a bone she wasn’t taken to hospital for days. The hospital staff reported this to her social worker.

An older boy at the home pinned her by the throat and made her do what the foster carer’s father had done. She says at that point she believed that behaviour must be ‘ok’. During her time in the home she stayed in contact with friends she knew when she was fostered and went to live with them when she was a teenager.

She says this went some way to turning her life around, but unfortunately the husband, Howie, began to sexually abuse her, slap her and threaten her. Carol reported it, then moved out.

An attempt to make contact with her dad was rejected, and he died before they could make up. She says that made her feel guilty, her life spiralled downwards and she tried to commit suicide.

She is now married with a child and says her life is much better, although she still has flashbacks and feels guilt.

Having now seen her social services records Carol cannot believe that they did not see what was going on.

She feels strongly that if a child says something they must be heard, an investigation must be carried out and social workers should be better trained. She would also like to see stricter vetting and supervision of foster carers and workers in children’s homes.

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