Giving Abused Children a Voice. The Abattoir of Dreams.

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.

A forensics tent at the former Haut de la Garenne children’s home in St Martin, Jersey, in 2008. Photograph: Graeme Robertson for the Guardian

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. Continue reading