Quick Exit

Experiences Shared


All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

William’s memories of childhood are violence, neglect, sexual abuse and having no one to turn to. He says: ‘My brain got broken a bit when I was young.’

He comments that his mother ‘never really parented me’ and he grew up witnessing severe domestic violence between his parents. William says he made many attempts to kill himself.

Social services and the police were involved with the family, but he describes his parents as ‘good manipulators’ and nothing seemed to be done to resolve the situation at home. William believes the family’s young social worker was too inexperienced to deal with the situation.

At some point, William’s cousin began to sexually abuse him. He remembers being masturbated while being shown pornography and telling his mother what had happened. He says that she laughed and did nothing to stop it.

The sexual abuse carried on for a number of years. At school William was diagnosed with learning disabilities but he says: ‘I was actually quite smart, I just couldn’t concentrate.’

Home life continued to be very unhappy, with William being angry most of the time. He gave up trying to tell people what was happening to him: ‘It was made clear if I talked to anyone there’d be consequences.’ He adds that anyway, he did not want to make people miserable.

Later in his life, when he found the courage to report his sexual abuse to the police, he was told there was not enough evidence to charge his cousin.

William says there were obvious signs of neglect throughout his childhood, but that the police and the managers of his local social services badly let him down. He is concerned at how often children are left in unsafe conditions and exposed to ongoing abuse. William sees a counsellor once a week, which he says is ‘sometimes helpful and sometimes not’.

He says: ‘This doesn’t end at childhood’ and describes his day-to-day experience as like being a child in an adult’s life. His father died recently, and William says that he didn’t really feel anything about it.

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