Quick Exit

Experiences Shared


All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Ida grew up in the 1960s. Her father was a violent man, and when she was six years old, her mother left home. Ida and her brothers and sisters were taken into care. 

She has fought for recognition of the abuse she suffered and the mistakes that were made when she was placed with an abusive carer and his complicit wife.

At first, Ida was placed in a care home where she remembers a great deal of abuse. She recalls waking up to an older boy masturbating over her and another boy forcing her younger sister to perform oral sex on him.  

Ida and her two sisters were then fostered by a vicar and his wife, Mr and Mrs A. Here they suffered more abuse. They were often made to be naked around the house and Mr A began touching Ida to the point that her genital area became sore. 

She believes that Mrs A was complicit in the abuse because she would send Ida into the front room saying Mr A wanted to speak to her, and he would sexually abuse her there.

When Ida’s younger brother came to stay, she says her foster parents ‘made his life hell’, forcing him to wear girl’s clothes. At this point she told a teacher about the abuse. 

Mrs A responded by accusing Ida of having sex with a boy at school. Ida believes this was to explain the soreness in her genital area. She was so terrified of her foster parents  that she says she felt compelled to point out a boy and say she was having sex with him. 


She remembers that social services became involved and the children were removed from Mr and Mrs A and placed in another care home. Here they suffered harsh physical punishments, including being whipped with a horse crop that Ida recalls hanging above the fireplace. The children stayed here for three years until they were returned to the care of their mother.  

But their mother found it difficult to cope with the children and Mr and Mrs A began to visit. After a while, the couple applied to adopt the girls only. Ida was in her early teens by this time, and she recalls that although the judge asked her who she wanted to live with, when she chose her mother she was told she was not old enough to make that decision.  

Mr and Mrs A were granted the adoption and Ida discovered later that they had given her mum a television – she says felt she had ‘been sold for a TV’.

At Mr and Mrs A’s house, the abuse resumed and escalated. Mr A raped Ida on many occasions and she says he would also follow the girls to school and watch them through the gates.  

When she was in her mid teens, Ida got married in an attempt to escape the vicar and his wife. He raped her on the morning of her wedding. A while later Ida got into trouble with the police. She was referred to a psychiatrist, disclosed the abuse she had suffered and it was reported to the police. She was interviewed but heard nothing further.  

Ida went to a solicitor who said she would need the support of her sisters to corroborate events. One of Ida’s sisters said she would support her but the youngest sister would not.

She says she is not interested in compensation, but she wants an acknowledgement of what had happened to her and her siblings. They requested their files from social services but there was no record of Mr and Mrs A and she says the records did not reflect her experiences.  

The effects of the abuse that Ida suffered include feeling ‘dirty’, and despair that nothing will ever change. Her relationship with her younger sister has broken down. 

One of the hardest things for her, she says, was not being believed. She feels strongly that children should be kept safe, and believed and supported when they have been through trauma. 


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There are very limited circumstances where we tell anyone your name without your consent, for example if a child is currently at risk and we need to tell the police.