Jerome's story, Wakefield
"In 1986 my father was made redundant from
the pit and my mother lost her nursing job when the county hospital
closed down for good. My family plunged into a nightmare.
"1987 started badly because money was scarce
and my father could not accept the fact that he couldn't find
employment and that he had lost his father. He came home drunk
one evening from the local pub and had a disagreement with my
mother over buying some shoes for my younger sister. The argument
finally spun out of control when my father struck out at my mother
and knocked her to the ground.
"In 1988 my father and mother both found
employment again but the deep-seated hate they now had for each
other would boil over again and from then on violence would be
a part of everyday life in the household.
"Soon after my tenth birthday my father
lost his job again. Most of the money my mother earned went on
fuelling my father's drinking problems.
"My older brother was arrested for shoplifting
and his crime gradually became more serioustargeting neighbours
who then sought violent revenge against the rest of the family.
Just when we thought it couldn't get any worse, it did. In April
1994 my grandma died of a heart attack in hospital while awaiting
a heart bypass operation. The next month my mother went to work
drunk and was sacked.
"Within two days me and my younger sister
were safe and snug in a foster home in Wakefield. The same week
I was knocked down and after two weeks in hospital was returned
home until January 1995 when Social Services took all of us into
care on Accommodation Orders for our own safety. My parents then
"From June that year I was in and out of
innumerable foster homes, supported lodgings placements and two
months in a God-forsaken excuse for a hotel until finally settling
down in my present placement."