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IICSA published its final Report in October 2022. This website was last updated in January 2023.



Alicia’s care records from when she was a small child describe her as ‘sexually provocative’

All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Alicia suffered violence and neglect from her mother and sexual abuse while she was in the care system.

She works hard to be a good parent, and says ‘To do that, I have to heal myself, which is why I’m here today’. 

Alicia spent her entire childhood and adolescence in the care system. She has pieced together some details of her early life from her care records.

Her mother had serious drug and alcohol problems, was frequently in abusive relationships and was violent towards her children. Alicia knows that she and her siblings were put on the child protection register soon after they were born.

She remembers that life was very unpredictable, because Alicia and her siblings were moved around the care system and also sent home to their mother for spells. But they were always removed again because of her neglect of the children and violence towards them.

When Alicia was a young child, she and her siblings were living with foster parents and the foster father sexually abused her. She relates what happened that day. ‘I remember them going shopping while they left us in the car, and I wet myself. I remember the woman berating me. At home, he showered me.' 

Alicia continues that the foster father put her over his knee and penetrated her with his fingers.

She says ‘After that, there’s a big blank’. 

From her records, Alicia knows that she and her siblings were shuttled backwards and forwards between placements.

She adds ‘I have also read that I was described as “sexually provocative”. Social services describe me displaying behaviours that weren’t right … my records talk a lot about my behaviour towards children and men’.

At one point when they were sent back to live with their mother, Alicia and her sibling were sexually assaulted. Her mother had lots of people in the house who were drinking heavily. She and her sibling were upstairs in bed, and a man came up and raped them both. Alicia was eight years old.

Alicia says ‘He was a complete stranger. I’ll never know who he was … it just happened and we didn’t even talk about it’.

Some time after this, Alicia was sent to hospital. She thinks this came about because of the way she was behaving, and that she had pelvic bruising. She knows there was a teacher at her school who was involved in her care plan. However, Alicia does not recall anything else being done to safeguard her at this point.

Alicia was subjected to another episode of sexual abuse when she was about 10. This happened in a children’s home and the perpetrator was a child in the home. She can’t remember telling anyone about any of the abuse she experienced.

When Alicia was 16 she left the care system and was provided with accommodation. She lived on her own until she got married. 

Reflecting on the neglect and abuse she suffered as a child, she says ‘It’s had a huge impact. I feel I’ve wasted nearly 40 years trying to come to terms with it’.

Alicia has suffered with depression and other mental health problems, and was sectioned for a time when she was a teenager. She says ‘I didn’t really have an education; there was too much moving around … that was life’. She has severe insomnia, and says that while she is good at looking after other people, she has to make a conscious effort to be good to herself.

She feels there were many flaws in the way that social services managed her care. She thinks they knew she was sexually abused by one of her foster parents as the placement ended with no explanation. 

Alicia also finds it hard to understand how social workers could have written some of the things about her she has found in her records. ‘I would never describe a child as provocative’ she says. ‘That statement about me…followed me right through care.’ 

She adds ‘Children in care are viewed differently to other children. Especially back then’. She says she knows she needs to stop normalising the abuse she endured. 

Alicia says that although her life has been a struggle, she feels that now she is married with a child, it is ‘fantastic’. She says ‘I have this drive to be the polar opposite to my mum. I’ve got to move forward and reclaim the rest of my life’.

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