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IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

Children in the care of Lambeth Council Investigation Report

Contents

E.4: The 2000s: LA‐A147

26. LA-A147 was in care in Lambeth during the 1990s and 2000s.[1] She was in foster care aged nine years old with another child (also being fostered) who would get LA-A147 to touch him.[2] LA-A147 remained in foster care but ran away, staying with a family member who she did not believe had been assessed.[3] She said that, when she was only 13 years old, she was sexually abused on a frequent and repeated basis by older men when staying with this family member.[4] She started smoking cannabis from 12 years old and was addicted to it by 13, telling us that “I was actually selling myself to buy cannabis”.[5] LA-A147 returned to children’s homes between the ages of 13 and 16. In one children’s home over a six-week period she was offered ecstasy, crack and heroin. LA-A147 described how a staff member – whose role it was to protect her – planned to go to a nightclub with her and to obtain ecstasy. The professional relationship which should have been in place was absent. LA-A147 went to get some clothes for this but met a man who offered her cannabis and raped her at his flat.[6] She telephoned the care home about this in a distressed state.[7]

27. LA-A147 disclosed sexual abuse on a number of occasions, including telling an education welfare officer in 2001 that she had been raped while in the care of a foster carer. She also said that she told staff at a children’s home that four people had had sex with her without her consent.[8] LA-A147 explained that when it came to a much older man who abused her:

I thought that, at some point, me having sex with him, he might start loving me. I know it’s – as an adult, it’s not real, but as a child, I just wanted to feel love, and I thought maybe if I had sex with him, he might love me.[9]

28. LA-A147 stayed in nine care homes and four foster placements during her time in care. As LA-A147 described very clearly in oral evidence, she had suffered and reported sexual abuse while in care, was addicted to substances and was not receiving an education. She did not receive assistance or support while in care to enable her recovery. The inability of Lambeth Council – even in the early 2000s – to protect LA-A147, to make constructive care plans or promote LA-A147’s welfare within any fostering arrangement is self-evident.

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