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



Lorena didn’t say she was being abused in care because she felt it was her ‘last chance’ to be adopted

All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Lorena was sexually abused by two males in her adoptive family.

She feels she would have had more chance of a ‘normal life’ if she had been placed with her extended family.

Lorena was fostered when she was five years old because her mother could not look after her. She says her foster parents were ‘wonderful’. After this, she went through an adoption that failed, and was adopted by another family when she was 10.

About six months after she arrived, her adoptive father, Eddy, began giving her back rubs. She says that at first, she loved this physical contact from a father figure as she had not experienced anything like this before.

But Eddy soon began overtly sexually abusing Lorena. She says she went through puberty early, and he would touch her breasts, grab her bottom and shower in front of her, sometimes when he had an erection. 

Later, Eddy began photographing Lorena in a sexual way, until her adoptive mother found the photos and made her husband delete them. 

Lorena remarks that the whole family walked around naked which made her feel very uncomfortable. Her adoptive brother pinned her to the bed and ‘groped’ her when she was about 12. This happened a few times, and he later apologised to Lorena, saying that he had been ‘confused’ about seeing her as a sister.

As an older child, Lorena knew that the chances of her being adopted again were slim. ‘I never spoke out while it was happening because I knew I would end up in a children’s home and that could be worse’ she says.

The abuse from within the family continued until she was 14. Around this time, Lorena was raped in parkland near the family home. She says ‘I didn't know how to say no or get out of the situation … I wasn’t set up to tell men no’. She was deeply shocked by what happened.

Some time later, Lorena did speak to one of her teachers about the abuse, but nothing happened, Lorena thinks because it had ceased by that point.

By the time she was 17, Lorena says ‘I was struggling’. She stole some money and began smoking cannabis heavily.

She tried to confront Eddy about the abuse. He did not deny it, but no one else in the family believed her. 

Lorena found it hard to concentrate at school and was diagnosed with an attention disorder, but she now believes that she was suffering from PTSD. ‘I always wanted to do better and I always felt I could do better’ she says. She still suffers with her mental health and finds it very hard to cope with any change.

She has since discovered that it might have been possible for her to have been looked after in her extended family. She feels that her adoption was too rushed, and adds that she could have found it easier to speak about the abuse if social workers had visited her outside the home, and more often. When they came to her adoptive family home, she says, ‘I put on a very happy front’.

Lorena thinks that it should be made clear to children in care what would happen to them should they speak out about abuse. ‘The point of adoption is to make the child’s life better’ she says.

She went on to study at university and is married with children. She describes her husband as her ‘rock’. 

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