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



Betsy’s parents gave her away to a couple who sexually abused her

All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Betsy says her parents didn’t want a girl.

They did not check she would be safe in the unofficial adoption arrangement they made for her.

One of Betsy’s earliest memories of her childhood in the 1960s is that her brother was given preferential treatment by her parents. 

She remembers some ‘family friends’ coming to her house one day, and asking if they could have her. Without explaining anything to Betsy, her father agreed and gave them her birth certificate. She was in her early teens.

The female ‘foster parent’ was in her mid thirties and the male was in his late teens. Soon after she was sent to live with them, they told her they were going to teach her what she needed to know about sex. 

They made her watch them doing sexual acts and then told her to get into bed with them where they sexually abused her.  

Betsy ran away and when she was picked up by the police, she told them what was happening. But the police told her off for ‘telling fairy tales’.

After running away again, she was sent to a children’s home. During the time she spent there, the man in charge would come into her bedroom and say sexual things to her. She says ‘I didn’t feel safe there either’.

When she left the care system in her mid teens, she was not given any support. ‘I was just tossed out into a bedsit’ she says.

Betsy struggles with her mental health, and finds it difficult to maintain employment and relationships. She suffers with anxiety and low self-esteem, but says that she does have a few friends who are helpful at times. 

She blames herself for what happened to her, saying ‘I felt like I was the baddie; I always have throughout my life ... I felt like I deserved to be treated like this’.

Betsy feels strongly that more should be done to support children in care and when they leave. She would also like to see more awareness raising so that people understand that child protection is adults’ responsibility.

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