From the age of 3, Vanessa lived in daily terror of her mother's unpredictable rage. If she was 'naughty', her mother would lash out at her – with beatings, torture, starvation and making Vanessa sleep in their garden's pigsty, tied up like an animal. Her mother said her punishments were God's revenge on her for being the devil's child. Her father lived in denial of her suffering.
When she was 6 years old, Vanessa's grandfather began to sexually abuse her – to her despair, aided and abetted by both her mother and grandmother. At eight years old, she then discovered that the 'mother' who hated her so much had adopted her as a baby and would never love her as her own.
At the most horrific times of Vanessa's abuse, she nearly lost all hope that she would escape her prison, until mysterious things started to happen to her that allowed her to fight back.
This is the story of how Vanessa survived a childhood that nearly destroyed her and how her secret led her out of the horrors of her past.
Vanessa Steel was born and brought up on the outskirts of Birmingham in the 1950s. She survived her childhood ordeals and developed a psychic gift (as a young child she foresaw the assassination of Kennedy in 1963 oblivious to who he was), and started working professionally as a medium. She is now one of the most sought after psychic mediums in Britain with a long list of private clients including many celebrities, both in the UK and abroad.
Heidi was 18 when she read her little sister Chloe’s diary, and discovered that they shared a terrible secret: they had both been abused by their father. After years of fear and isolation, Heidi knew she had to go to the police.
For a long time, Chloe resented Heidi for forcing her to disclose what had happened when she wasn’t ready, while their brother, Tom, couldn’t understand how he had so misjudged his father, and at first he didn’t believe their tale. The truth threatened to destroy them all.
This is the very honest story of three siblings, and how a man they trusted threatened to tear their family apart.
When her mother abandoned her to the protection of the home, Sue was soon to discover that behind the welcoming doors of this reputedly kind-hearted organisation lay a world steeped in lies, cover-ups, victimisation and abuse. At its heart was Boagey, whose perverse bullying was targeted at Sue. Her attacks quickly progressed from the gratuitous punishment of an innocent child to sordid gratification of her sexual whims.
Sue's story is one of institutional abuse - of physical, mental and emotional torture of the most appalling kind - but it also a story full of joy, humour and many victories - small and large - against her abusers.
Utterly compelling and shockingly revelatory, No Way Home will astound, move and inspire.
Justin was five years old; his brothers two and three. Their mother, a heroin addict, had left them alone again. Later that day, after trying to burn down the family home, Justin was taken into care.
Justin was taken into care at the age of five after deliberately burning down his family home. Six years on, after 20 failed placements, Justin arrives at Casey’s home. Casey and her husband Mike are specialist foster carers. They practice a new style of foster care that focuses on modifying the behaviour of profoundly damaged children. They are Justin’s last hope, and it quickly becomes clear that they are facing a big challenge.
Try as they might to make him welcome, he seems determined to strip his life of all the comforts they bring him, violently lashing out at schoolmates and family and throwing any affection they offer him back in their faces. After a childhood filled with hurt and rejection, Justin simply doesn’t want to know. But, as it soon emerges, this is only the tip of a chilling iceberg.
A visit to Justin’s mother on Boxing Day reveals that there are some very dark underlying problems that Justin has never spoken about. As the full picture becomes clearer, and the horrific truth of Justin’s early life is revealed, Casey and her family finally start to understand the pain he has suffered...
Includes a sample chapter of Crying for Help.
The Boy No One Loved is the true story of Justin who was taken into care at the age of 5 after deliberately burning down his family home. Six years on, after 20 failed placements, Justin arrives at Casey’s home. A childhood of hurt and rejection has made him aggressive, but this is only the tip of a chilling iceberg.
In Crying for Help, Casey takes in Sophia, a girl with a pain-filled past and disturbing behaviour. Casey must get through to her, but Sophia’s violence is threatening the safety of the whole family. Can Casey really handle this lost and damaged young girl?
The Jonathan Ross Show has just started when Casey gets the call. She thinks it will be Riley – telling her that her favourite actor is going to be on TV. But it’s something far more urgent: a fifteen-year-old girl who has run away from her foster family and accused her foster father of sexual abuse. The family deny in vehemently, but such an allegation can never be taken lightly, so a new home must be found for Keeley.
Keeley is polite, but she’s sharp, and she has all the hallmarks of a child who has been in the system a long time, and knows how to play it. Whether the allegation is true or not, Casey knows there will be no winners here. If it is true, then a young girl’s life has been torn asunder. If not, then the heartache for the family will only be surpassed by the bleak outlook for Keeley.
In the short term, it’s a case of providing a safe, supportive home for a vulnerable child. But with the dangerous world of the internet at her disposal, it seems this strong-minded youngster has her own ideas of where that safe place should be...
By telling the whole story of her Edinburgh childhood, Donna tries to understand why the man who should have loved her the most - her own father - was the one who deceived her the most, by continuing to allow men to abuse her. Instead of finding a future of love and happiness, Donna was once again thrust into a living nightmare of
exploitation and betrayal by those who should have wrapped her up in their love.
While this is a true story of appalling child abuse, it is also a tale of how exhilaration, tenderness and self-development can flourish despite childhood horrors. We take a journey with Donna to discover the woman she has become: a devoted mother of three and a talented artist and writer.
Terry O’Neill was just ten years old when he stood up in court to testify against his brutal foster parents, accused of the manslaughter of his twelve-year-old brother, Dennis.
Terry and his brother had been taken into care and moved through many foster homes until they came to live on the Shropshire farm owned by Reginald and Esther Gough in 1945. There they were to suffer brutal beatings and little care or love – they survived as best they could, looking out for each other, until the terrible morning when Terry couldn’t wake Dennis.
In a time when the country was united by war and struggle, the case shocked the nation and made headlines around the world. Terry, a small figure in the courtroom, captured the hearts of mothers and families everywhere, and the public outcry against the foster services led to the instigation of the first provisions to protect other vulnerable children from neglect and cruelty.
The Cupboard Under the Stairs is a story of abuse at the mercy of adults whom Paul should have been able to trust. There followed a life almost destroyed by their actions. It is the harrowing story of one man’s fight for justice and an end to the horrific memories that still haunt him daily.
At seven years old, Nabila Sharma began her lessons at the mosque as every good Muslim girl does. But from the minute she looked up at her Imam, the man who held her spiritual future in his hands, she knew something was wrong.
Over the next five years Nabila’s life became unbearable. While she was behind the doors of the mosque, the most sacred of places, the Imam brutally molested her on the slightest whim. Each day he would make her perform unspeakable acts, physically and mentally torturing her into compliance, to fulfil his perverse desires.
Nothing would stop him; no plea would make him relent. But he was a respected member of the community, trusted by everyone; if Nabila cried for help she would risk the honour of her family, an unthinkable act. There was nowhere she could turn, no one she could talk to. As a young Muslim girl, Nabila was powerless.
Brutal is the shocking, revelatory and heart-rending account of one girl’s plight in a society where honour and shame are a matter of life and death. It is a tale of innocence lost and a life shattered, but above all it is a tale of survival, of a young girl who found love and hope in the darkest of places.
Peter was just a toddler when his mother tragically died, trying to abort a child they simply couldn't support. When his father swiftly replaced her with his mistress, Peter made the mistake of calling her 'Mummy'. Dragged outside, trampled on and shouted at, Peter never made that mistake again.
Peter tried time and time again to flee the terrible abuse that dominated his childhood, his hands held against burning stoves, being thrown from a window and even his small feet nailed to the floorboards to prevent his running away.
In Never Call Me Mummy Again, the heartbreaking yet ultimately uplifting memoir, Peter Kilby tells of how he finally escaped the stepmother from hell.
Peter Kilby's unique and moving story was picked up when he entered Penguin's hugely successful life-story competition with Saga Magazine.