Quick Exit

Experiences Shared


All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

When Scott was six months old, he and his two siblings were placed in a convent care home run by nuns. Their parents’ marriage had broken down and their mum had left.

A relative removed the two older siblings from the convent, but Scott was left there until he was 16. He was subjected to harsh punishments in the home and sexual abuse by a man who claimed to be helping with his health issues.

During this time his dad only paid one visit, although he did give Scott some support when he was older. His mum came on two or three occasions, but he did not recognise her. Scott was brought up by Sister Mary. He says she was nice to him but ‘firm and could be quite brutal’. She told Scott that his mum did not love him, which he found hard at the time but came to believe was the truth.

When Scott was about seven years old, a man called Barry visited a home where Scott and some other boys were staying on holiday. Scott overheard Barry talking about him and his health to one of the nuns.

After this Barry took Scott on a day trip and then to his home every few months. He says he went there around 12 times. They always went swimming and Barry would rub Scott’s chest with olive oil, supposedly to help a skin condition he suffered from.

Scott says that undressing was ‘no big thing’ for him. There was no privacy at the care home and he was often naked with his GP, so he didn't consider it unusual when Barry suggested he undressed. Scott remembers being in a room with a square light and a camera on a tripod but cannot remember photos being taken.

He recalls telling Barry he was worried that he was not very big compared to the other boys. This proceeded to Scott lying on a single bed face down, with Barry stroking his back and backside. He recalls once turning around to see Barry dripping with sweat. This happened a few times.

When Scott was around 10 years old, another boy arrived at the school and Scott noticed that Barry kept looking at him and touching his arms and shoulder. One of Scott’s friends asked him: ‘he doesn't touch you like that does he?’ Scott denied it but remembers feeling very embarrassed as he began to have some understanding of what had been going on. The abuse stopped after that.

Around this time, there was a teacher at school who, on one occasion, put his hand down Scott’s trousers onto his groin. Scott found out later that this teacher had jumped into bed with one of his friends and ‘frightened the life out of him’.

Scott says that when he looks back, he cannot understand why the punishments he and the other boys were given in the convent were so severe. He remembers boys having their faces rubbed into urine-soaked beds. They were also beaten for being sick or talking in bed and they were regularly punished naked. He used to bang his head, which he believes was a sign of trauma. 

He is also unsure why Sister Mary was completely taken in by Barry. He describes her a ‘little overawed’ by him and says she always used the best crockery when he visited.

Scott says that he felt he was forgotten about when in the home and that no one visited him to find out how he was. He believes that there was not enough governance or follow-up on the children and it ‘was only the “nit” lady’ who reported the unusual marks on all of the kids.

Scott comments that when you are in an institution ‘you have to have a strategy to keep going.’ He adds ‘There is a violence in “home kids” which is not the same for people who have not had that experience’.

After a violent outburst Scott was imprisoned for a few months. However, he says that the home was a far harder place and he received more support when he was released from prison than when he left the home.

He says that he now he stays clear of any violence because when it happens it becomes a ‘blur, pure rage’ and he cannot recollect what happened.

Before he came to the Truth Project, Scott had never reported his experiences of abuse. He says he was too embarrassed and did not have the words to describe it.

He would like to see strong safeguarding policies for all institutions that look after children.

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