Every three months since the day I was born and for the subsequent 18 years my every movement was recorded.   As my friend Jenni Fagan wrote in Panopticon “I was an experiment”. I received the files two years ago. I approached a lawyer and we began proceedings against The Social Services.

Part of the process of proceedings is to undergo a grueling psychological assessment of my life.    A few weeks ago I received The Psychologists report from my lawyer. He wrote “it brought me to tears”. I was advised not to look at it alone.   So on 30th April at 6pm at The Royal Court Theatre Julie Hesmondhalgh will read it to me on stage where I will hear it for the first time along with the audience.  The tickets went live last night. I’ve  hardly slept.

The  files  expose the institutionalized voyeurism which was dependent on isolating the child and making them feel they should never speak of their experience in  adult life.   This event at The Royal Court  tears down the walls of the padded cell –  there was a padded cell in one of my children’s homes.  What if the person in that cell knew the walls would come down one day?    I am the evidence. I must speak?    It is pure  Salander.

The reader of the report at the royal court is a brilliant woman and a great actor:  Julie Hesmondhalgh.  We will both be on stage.   I trust her on a personal level, a political level and on a professional level.  The director is John McGrath.  The theatre was made possible by Vicky Featherstone. The piece is produced by Sarah Sansom.  They  are the only people who have read the report. I have not.  I will hear it when you hear it.    30th April at 6pm at The Royal Court and the truth is I am scared.   But I am doing this.

64 thoughts on “THE EVIDENCE. THE REPORT.

  1. Dear Lemn, I hope you are well. It is a bold choice; I (think I) understand the motivation behind it. All the best for the event –and the post-event, about which you will have already thought, with the relevant support and self-care.
    Greetings from luminous, pure blue-skied, warm Madrid.

  2. You should stand tall for what you have achieved in your life after that hell hole you was in .One hell of anightmare that place was .Not just for you but hundreds of other kids .All because of a couple of staff more than likely had bad days with their wife’s or family .. Serioulsy hope those responsible are still alive and get the justice they deserve for beating the kids to a pulp .Knowing first hand what they did to the children who went in that so called children’s home .It was like you say nothing but a prison for kids .Hope those still alive who worked there are standing as proud as you are.Round of applause for what you have achieved in your life lemn .Some are not here to speak up for them selfs.It certainly affects guys in different ways .Still have nightmares since I spoke about it to the police .Those twelve still alive certainly know what went on .Well from me to them and from others .Bloody cowards all twelve of them .Ron Tatt .Goodluck !

  3. Hi Lemn I have a ticket and am looking ahead in anticipation and a little fear to what we will witness. This event is SO unique. Never have I – or am I likely to again – been present in a room with people I don’t know but who are all there for one purpose – to witness, to testify and to offer support and love. I’ve been wondering who will be in the seats next to me, how they will know you, how we will all interact, how we will leave connected to each other in this experience. You say you’re scared. Of course. I totally get that. But the world needs to be even more scared. The evidence is going to be out there and we will all speak it – and to it – with you. Change is coming. Thank you for this.

      • Just curious Lemn, does the psychologist who wrote the report know what you’re doing with it. I wonder if they will attend and witness the impact their words and opinions have on us. ?

        • It is important to know the psychologist is not invested in seeing things one way or another. He is a good man.

          • No I completely understand that. As you know I’m a psychologist and so I just have that curiosity about who produced this report. It’s his viewpoint ( based on his experience and the literature etc). I wasn’t implying any criticism of him at all and have written reports myself on kids for care proceedings when I worked in Manchester ( the most heart breaking job I ever did and I had to get out!). I was just curious. Our reports rarely have such a reach and influence and that this will is wonderful.

  4. Hello Lemn
    Pity it’s not in Manchester; too far for me to come. But that’s of no consequence, what matters is YOU and how you will survive it. You will survive it but it will be tough; I’ve read previous comments about surrounding yourself with good strong friends which is true and good advice. But what you really need to survive is a determined steady core deep inside yourself. You have this; without it you wouldn’t have survived. It might help to think of this as a way of soothing your inner child; reclaim what you were due all those years ago. For Lemn the child and all other children in care; and yes I can see the irony of the words ‘in care’.
    Sending strong vibes and admiration for your courage.
    With love
    Dorli x

  5. Utterly amazing. So sad I can’t be there but you will be in my thoughts. Inspired choice of reader she will be wonderful and you will be amazing in all responses x

  6. I got a letter off the cps to tell me no court proceedings against mills and platt because punching and head butting a kid in the face is a common assault and they can’t prosecute after so much time as passed no mention of the mental torcher and the years of nightmares. Total white wash operation millan.

  7. You are amazing, I wish you strength, courage and serenity as you go through this experience. Kia arohanui from New Zealand.

  8. Dear Lemn,
    All hopes and wishes and strength to you for 30th April.
    If I was able to, I would come, but I am committed to being up north that day, because my first grandchild is imminent and I have a task to do.
    Otherwise, I would have come , to support you.
    My heart goes out to you.
    The best of luck with it, and much love,

    • Judith it’s good that you are there for your grandaughter. it seems right in line with what I will be doing. A tangential. Being there for family is everything. X

  9. I was worried when you said you might do this but frankly it is none of my business. I also thought you were very brave, being scared makes you no less so, I don’t think I would expose myself in the same way. But (I like starting sentences with prepositions) what you have written illustrates how you have been exposed as a child and your life is lived with the consequences of all of those recorded experiences. The report is the record of the consequences of those records.

    I wish I could be there because I would want you to feel safe and held and I hope the audience do that for you. I don’t know a lot about theatre but actors always say every audience is different and they are part of the experience, I hope yours give you all the love you need to hear a report that made its author cry. I hope it will make you think that you are incredible to live alongside the repercussions of your childhood, you might know that anyway, and that there is some joy in that, as well as any sadness.

  10. You make the change both through your art, and through your personal growth, and it’s completely moving, as well as impressive, to witness, Lemn. If there ever were Olympians they would look to welcome you from their dizzying heights. I wish both this performance piece and the new foundation (!) every success

  11. Unfortunately, I am in GA and will not be able to hear the report. I had worked with Street Children in Ethiopia in the early 90’s and the plight of children has been dear to my heart. ( Hope to watch it on DVD maybe). I did not have a child until age 45.

    I have been exposed to the foster care system in the US called the Social Services I have witnessed the daily recording and reporting of a child activity back to the system we call here Social Services in the US.

    I remember a young Swede – Ethiopian coming to Ethiopia while I was working with Street children looking for his file. He did not meet his biological parents but a friend and I took him to see the museum at Addis Abeba University. His birth files in Addis Abeba was lost and his mother is deceased, we return back to Sweden.

    I am so glad to hear voices like you, who has made it out of CARE system into the main stream UK, It is HARD. Keep the light at the end of the tunnel – Thank you for being a voice to the voiceless.

    I also hope you will have the strength to hear the report with the audience, I hope your spirit will allow good friends to be around you besides the audience that comes to see the PLAY

  12. Bless you for your courage Mr Sissay. Hope it brings you more peace than it takes away. Could be an instrumental lesson for those undertaking such assessments now. Will it be recorded and available in that way? Glen

  13. It’ll be alright.

    When I’m afraid I listen to Prince. Dig out Diamonds and Pearls and play Push, LOUD. You be Prince and I’ll be Rosie, everyone else can be the NPG…

    A new power generation that’s what we’re all in it for.

    See you on the 30th.

  14. I am hoping that you can feel robust enough as it will be hard, but you will be making a solitary stand against an injustice that is not, and will not be, yours to experience alone.

  15. Dear Lemn,
    Exactly a year ago I had a great previlage to sit front and center in a small auditorium “Red barn” in Amherst Collage and listened your story. Lemn you are simply amazing and what you are doing is monumental and I have no doubt your history is going to change countless and voiceless souls.

  16. You are amazing , Lemen. You truly are.
    Sending every ounce of positive energy in my soul your way!
    From a far, far away place

  17. Dear Lemn,

    The moment has come for you to revisit your past and to let the world know what happens to kids in care. I can’t begin to imagine the emotional uphill you might go through. I pray that you get strength and know that you are loved and wished best by lots of people including me. Please take care of yourself.


  18. Dear Lemn,

    I have to admit I’m anxious about this, and will worry for you on the day. May there be gentle arms to hold you, now and always.

    Warmest love from Shetland.

    Christine x

  19. This is some undertaking but what would life be if we didn’t take chances and risks and challenge what is expected of us? I like that you admit you are scared in this post – so often we don’t admit this, at least in part because we feel we can’t, and that harms us in the end, I think.
    All the best to you. x

  20. Stay strong Lemn ,sending love @ support ,you are so brave
    Hopefully this will rid your heart of all the horrible ,sad memories that you certainly didn’t deserve in your young life . I wish you so much happiness and contentment in your life,you are a beautiful ,kind ,and gentle man Teresa Quinn x

  21. Thinking of you Lemn ,you are a beautiful, kind ,and caring man .
    You are so brave and I wish you strength,love ,compassion ,I hope on the 30th ,it will be the start of healing your heart for all the hurt you went through as a young person , which you didn’t deserve , it will also give hope to young people who are still hurting today
    Best wishes
    Teresa Quinn

  22. I’m thinking of you Lemn and wishing you all the best.
    I have going through a similar experience since January 2015 but still have been refused my records from the council. I wonder why?
    One day I would like to discuss with you what happened to my family at the hands of social care teams and allow you to see what I had to do to keep us safe.
    I have been asked for my story but the organisations interested warned me that they could not secure my safety if I get my story into the public eye!!
    Take care.
    One day a group will find a way to stop children being used in the council’s adoption agency and what is acceptable now will be investigated as emotional abuse of the worst kind. I hope I see that happen in my lifetime.
    Together we can do anything, if we really want to change the system!

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