Today the Inquiry heard from three survivors of Shirley Oaks. Their heart breaking accounts described how they suffered from physical, sexual abuse and neglect whilst in the care of Lambeth Council.
One survivor described how, following incidents of sexual abuse, she felt her body was never her own. She described how she did not know that sexual abuse was wrong and that she believed it was just something that happened. How she was given sedatives whilst in care which gave her severe visual side effects. She described an incident where she refused to eat rice pudding so it was re-served to her day after day and when she finally gave in on the fourth or fifth day and ate it, she was then sick. To this day she still cannot face even saying the name rice pudding. When the survivor gave birth to her daughter at 14 years of age, she described how, when looking at her new born baby, she felt love for the first time.
Another survivor described traumatic incidents of bullying at Shirley Oaks school which culminated in sexual abuse by an older pupil. Far from being protected by the teachers, one member of staff stood by and watched the abuse.
Today showed the bravery of the survivors that have supported this Inquiry, not for gain but to ensure that our system is changed so that no child ever has to go through what they went through.
Tomorrow the Inquiry will hear from the Strategic Director of Lambeth Children’s Services.
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