Wednesday, 11 April 2018

A Common Experience.

It was about sixty eight years ago mum and maybe dad put me into the care of their (at that time) local council. I was placed into a residential children's home. I have written an ebook
about my time there. 
It was an amazing co-incidence that at the time I was writing my book an association was being formed. An association of hundreds of people who had endured being in 'care' when they were kids. I use the word endure because that is what a lot of us had to do. The association use the word survivors. That is what so many children had to do. Survive and endure.
I know that many, many children who were not in care also had to endure and survive terrible childhoods. That sadly is still the case today but the difference with us survivors is that we were put into what should have been a place of safety. Of  'care'. And that is the difference. That word care.
The council did not give us care. They gave us abuse. Physical, sexual and mental abuse. They failed us. They failed in their duty of care.
The council have admitted -after a great deal of persuasion- liability for what some of us had to endure as kids. In fact what has happened is that every child who was in that place whether they suffered or not is to receive compensation. The amount is based on the length of time spent in that place. Even those who were there for just a week will receive some compensation. This is being called a common experience payment. For those of us who experienced the worst things this will be an interim payment. Next thing is a 'Harms Way' compensation. This has to be decided by a review panel composed- unjustly we survivors feel- by those who will be paying it, the council. We would have preferred an independent panel. But anyway, it is a miracle we have got this far. It has been a long fight for justice. Fought on behalf of us all by a few determined people.
I cannot go into how all this business of compensation has affected me, or how I feel about it all because to be perfectly honest I do not know. My mind is a maelstrom of thoughts and I cannot decipher my feelings. I do know that money cannot compensate me for what happened as a child and the subsequent results of that abuse which caused me to go off the rails and also to miss out on an education that I know I could have achieved something if I had not been so troubled and spent such a lot of my adult life feeling so useless and unworthy with a huge chip on my shoulder. But yes, I survived and today I try hard not to dwell too much on what might have been. Although the last few years have brought things to the fore in an unpleasant way causing me some inner turmoil and anxiety that I have to fight against.
For almost the first time in my life I shall soon be completely debt free. I will be able to pay the bank everything I owe them. I am really pleased about that. I am not sure that is all it should be about but I can't think any more about it. It took sixty eight years. I try hard to dismiss the perpetrators from my mind. My thoughts are with those kids who didn't survive the hell of a childhood in that place and took their own lives. There were many of them.


  1. I am overjoyed that you and all the others will receive a bit of justice. It will never make up for all the pain, both physical and emotional, that you endured. Most of all it has been recognized that these things happened. I hope you have a nice evening out at open mic night. Drink an extra drink for me and know I am with you in spirit.

  2. I’ve read your book. The past is now the past thank God. Make the money work for YOU and enjoy this time of your life. You have your kids and Mia life will be good now

  3. Enjoy being debt free when it happens, remember you have come through this, making you the person you are today, and from what I see, not a bad soul at all. Onward and upward, ready to sing another day.

  4. And about time too, John, or putting it another way - what kept them! The whole experience must have been more like a continuing nightmare to a young lad but look at you now... robust, healthy and one helluva guy. Big hugs from me.

  5. I can't imagine the terrible sense of pain and injustice you suffered at the hands of a system that was supposed to protect you. You are a brave man, I hope that financial restitution can go someway to helping you enjoy a happier future. I wish you well. Sally