IICSA Update – Day 6

July 7th, 2020

Yesterday the Inquiry heard from three more survivors.

One survivor described how he was forced to eat food he hated, notwithstanding the staff knew how much he disliked it. He went on to describe how his mouth would be washed out with soap if he said anything the staff did not like. He then provided evidence as to how, as a very young child, he was sexually abused by one of the older boys living at the home.  Sadly, this survivor felt there was no point reporting this abuse as he knew he would not be believed. He also described how he was the victim of considerable racial abuse throughout his stay in the home.

The second survivor described how she spent four hours of her first night in care locked in a cell. “It was a cell, with a very small bed, iron bed, concreted into the floor, a thin mattress and that’s it”. The survivor had not done anything wrong, she did not warrant any punishment, she was simply taken into care and treated like a criminal. She went on to say “life was hell there”. She described how she was often restrained like a “felon”. 

The third survivor’s emotional evidence gave the Inquiry an understanding as to how the abuse suffered as a child still had a huge impact on her life. The evidence she gave was truly harrowing as she described several years of physical and emotional abuse suffered at the hands of her Housefather. Shockingly at the age of just 17, the survivor was required to give evidence in Court against her abuser in a criminal trial. Notwithstanding her age and the nature of the trial, the survivor was required to face the perpetrator in Court. Throughout this extraordinary ordeal, the survivor was given no support from Lambeth Council. The traumatic evidence given by this survivor gave a true picture of the neglect suffered and complete lack of care shown by Lambeth Council to its most vulnerable children.