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Experiences Shared


All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Miley was fostered when she was a small child as both her parents had been in prison, but she was returned to them.

She was physically and emotionally abused by her mother every day and sexually abused by her father from the age of nine.

Miley relates a catalogue of cruelty and abuse by her mother. If she wet the bed her mother would rub her nose in the sheets. She would kick and punch Miley and tell her how ugly she was. She forced Miley to sit in dish water in the kitchen sink.

Miley didn’t start school until the last year of infants. She was bullied and beaten up as her parents had been in prison. She was sent to school without pants and some of the boys would drag her to the toilets and ‘do things’. Miley had no proper clothes for school, and there was no milk or dinner money.

Miley would steal food as she was so hungry. One one occasion she was caught and given a supervision order.

She remembers her father getting in bed with her when she was nine years old. He asked Miley to touch him but she refused. Some time later, after a big row at home, her father took her into his bedroom. He put his hand over Miley’s mouth and sexually abused her.

She heard her mother coming up the stairs and pulled her pants up quickly. Her mother said to her father ‘You have been with her. She is a dirty cow now’.

Miley describes how she went to school thinking that ‘the world had ended.’ Her mother didn’t speak to her for about three weeks.

After a violent row Miley’s father left the family home. Miley took an overdose that day. She says it was about three months before anyone checked to see why she wasn’t attending school and she had no visit from a social worker.

When Miley was in her early teens she took another overdose ‒ she says she felt that no one cared. She went into care for a few weeks and says she was happy there. But her mother took her back to look after her nan, who was ill.

Her mother continued to be physically abusive. When she was 16 she got a boyfriend but her mother scared him away. On the way home from the pub one night, her mother threw a brick through a shop window and told Miley to steal something. Miley was charged with burglary and feels her mother staged it to ruin her life.

Miley started seeing another boyfriend – her future husband – and this enraged her mother even more. She violently assaulted Miley who escaped to her boyfriend’s by bus, wearing her slippers, shaking and covered in blood. From then on she stayed with her boyfriend’s parents until they got married. At last, when she was 21 years old, she was no longer abused.

Miley reports that she suffers from depression, poor sleep and panic attacks and she compulsively tidies and checks things. At times she has found it hard to maintain work because it is difficult for her to build relationships with colleagues.

However, she now has a job as a care worker for children with disabilities. She says she gets job satisfaction with this and feels she can relate to the children.

She would like to receive compensation from social services for failing her, but says she does not have the energy to pursue this at the moment.


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