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Experiences Shared


All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Nige grew up in appalling conditions at home, deprived of basic necessities. 

He suffered further abuse in the care system, including rape.

Nige was born in the 1960s and lived with his mother. He didn’t have a bed at home, and doesn’t recall ever having a bath there. He does remember attending a nursery when his mother was at work, where he was occasionally bathed. He had to steal food or rely on neighbours to feed him.

At some stage Nige was fostered and he describes this as a positive time. He was later returned to his mother. A social worker who saw the family gave him a pet, which he loved.

By the time he was nine years old Nige had been expelled from two schools. He doesn’t remember anyone asking him what was happening at home. Looking back, he says that at school he ‘gave the nuns hell’ but at the time he did not understand that he was behaving badly. 

Nige remembers being taken to court, where he was told he was going into care. He was examined forcefully by a doctor, and sent to an assessment centre. There were about 30 children there, and the centre had a school on site. 

He describes the experience as ‘not that bad’, because he was fed properly, and it gave him structure. However, he does remember being pinned down and punched in the nose, and that a member of staff was often drunk at work. 

At weekends Nige was sent home to his mother. The house was dirty and he shared a bed with her and his sisters.

A psychiatrist saw Nige and said he was ‘delinquent’. 

When he was 12, Nige was sent to another children’s home which was further away from his mother. 

He has since read a report from that time which states he was ‘looking forward’ to going there, but he says this was not true. The home was in an isolated area in the middle of the countryside. The children were made to do hard physical work and were rarely treated if they became ill or hurt.

Within days of arriving Nige was anally raped by a care worker. When he tried to report this to other staff, he was called a liar and punched. Staff also threatened to stop him going on home leave and this made him afraid to complain again.  

Nige says the abuse continued for ‘a long time’. He saw other children being physically and sexually abused by staff. He never talked again about the abuse he suffered and believes he ‘would not be here today’ if he had. 

In later years, more victims and survivors came forward, and the care worker who abused him was convicted.

Nige would like to see more done to protect children from neglect and abuse. This might include offering support to parents and carrying out more unannounced inspections of institutions. He adds that children should be listened to.

He describes his time in the children’s home as ‘survival’. Nige has mental health problems and has tried to commit suicide in the past, but says he has now found ways to cope by distracting himself. 

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