My third novel, The Abattoir of Dreams, was inspired by news that a high-profile figure had been named by a man in his forties as his abuser in a children’s home. Subsequently, the man said he’d made a mistake – no one leaning on him there, then– the whole case was dropped. This made my blood boil. This poor guy had obviously been through hell as a child, and all these years later, the authorities still slammed the door in his face.
There are so many cases of both historical and current child abuse. The case of the Haut de la Garenne children’s home on Jersey, brought to light a catalogue of abuse – sexual, physical and psychological, stretching back to the end of the second world war. Eight people have been prosecuted for 145 offences and seven men and women have been convicted. Many more alleged offenders, some now dead, have been identified by almost 200 former residents.
The investigation also found there was a culture of fear on Jersey. Residents were afraid to come forward with criticism or information because they were living so closely to those they were accusing. Bob Hill, a former member of the states assembly – Jersey’s parliament, said people had long been afraid to report the abuse because they did not trust that any allegations would be treated in confidence.
Pieces of bone were found at the building which initially led some people to believe that children may have been murdered. When it was confirmed that serial murder had not been committed at Haut de la Garenne, deputy police chief at the time, Lenny Harper came in for criticism. But he insisted good came out of it. “We brought hundreds of victims out into the open,” he said. “The victims had been in danger of being forgotten,” he added. “They are the ones crying out to be heard. We gave them that voice.”
A former female resident said Haut de la Garenne was evil. “It was the place where all the abandoned children were put. It was the kind of place that everyone was dumped,” she said.
Another case, that you may not even have heard of, is that of Melanie Shaw. She was abused in both foster care and a care home in Nottingham. She tried to report what had happened to her. Instead of being listened to, she was followed by police, had her child taken from her, and then imprisoned in solitary confinement, denied medical privileges and blocked from being able to receive any legal help.
It is said that you can find out who controls you by looking at who you are not allowed to criticise. If you try to find any information about Melanie and her case, you’ll find very little but reports about her setting fire to her prison cell. Hardly anything can be found about her allegations as it all seems to be covered up. Why would this be? Who is hiding the information?
The only website I’ve found which has maintained an interest in Melanie’s case, is David Icke’s. He has a number of news articles from different stages of Melanie’s imprisonment. If you click on the image below you can listen to David discuss the case and some possible reasons why Melanie isn’t being allowed to talk about what happened to her.
In the end, the finished book bore no resemblance to the story I saw in the news, but it focused on the plight of those kids in children’s homes who have been, and still are being abused. I wanted to give them a voice, and I’m satisfied that the Abattoir of Dreams did that. Just like in the real life abuse cases, the story includes the corruption, cover-ups and lies told to try and protect the abusers instead of the abused.
It is a hard-hitting read, and quite gut-wrenching. I think I conveyed everything I wanted to. I have to say, although the book is not for the faint-hearted, I had to leave out a lot of what goes on in those so-called care homes. The systematic abuse of children is appalling. The homes where abuse takes place are the abattoirs of dreams. Where any dreams of a better future are stripped away.
If you’d like to find out more about The Abattoir of Dreams you can find the book here on Amazon.
You can also see what readers have thought of the content of the book in this previous blog post about book trigger warnings.
As always, thank you for your continued support.