A SURVIVOR of childhood physical abuse has bravely spoken out about his horrific ordeal and told how a Greenock charity is helping him to cope.

Tommy Hagan suffers from a severe nervous disorder which he says was caused by 14 years of systematic physical abuse and neglect which he endured at the Orphan Homes of Scotland between 1938 and 1952.

The 83-year-old from Inverclyde courageously decided to open his heart about the devastating impact this has had on his life and how Mind Mosaic, a local counselling and therapy charity, is supporting him.

Through the charity, sprightly Tommy is learning to play the drums.

He told the Tele: “Music makes me feel a bit better because I was quite nervous for a lot of years.

“Since I have started the music, that has helped me to take my mind off my nerves.

“Everyone at Mind Mosaic has been a big help.”

It was back in 1938 when Tommy and his brother were put into the Quarriers Village based care home by the local authority.

Tommy said they were subjected to horrendous abuse at the hands of their carers.

He said: “We both suffered abuse daily by our house mother and father.

“We were subject to constant beatings and given freezing cold baths frequently throughout the day.

“My brother was taken away from the home when he was around nine years old after a brutal beating.

“I was left to endure a further eight years in there myself.

“I was removed from the home for two years when I was put in a sanatorium for health reasons as a direct result of the abuse I had suffered up to that point.

“I left the home aged 16 with nothing but the clothes on my back.”

The abuse had a devastating impact on Tommy’s life.
He added: “My life has been affected in many ways by my childhood abuse.

“I left the home at 16 with no education and have worked in medial jobs most of my life.

“I also have a severe nervous disorder caused by years of systematic abuse in the home.

“I have trusted very few people in my life and have difficulty maintaining relationships.

“I did get married but my wife is now in a care home and I am finding life very difficult.”

Tommy first spoke out about what happened to him five years ago at a forum developed by the Scottish Government to hear testimony from adults who had formerly been residents in Quarriers.

Since then he has also given evidence to the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry — Scotland’s ongoing independent public inquiry into the abuse of children in care. 

Throughout this time, Tommy says Mind Mosaic through their partnership with Future Pathways —  Scotland’s In Care survivor support fund — have been a great help.

He said: “I have the support of Mind Mosaic but I still want an apology.

“It’s good for this information to come out, as a lot of young people go into care.

“I’m trying to make things better.”

Mind Mosaic’s Gwyneth MacDonald explained how colleague Elaine Wroe supports Tommy through the Scottish Government-funded initiative specifically for in-care survivors.

It also supports adult survivors of childhood abuse who were not in care, and recently received £258,000 for the next three years from ministers to help them.

Gwyneth said: “It’s fantastic that we’ve received this funding.

“We have had funding to support adult survivors of childhood abuse on a much smaller scale.

“Now, with this funding we are able to go out and expand it.”
One of the most successful projects has been the survivors group and a link-up with musician Lesley McLaren for Drummin’ Wummin.

Tommy was the first male survivor to try it out and the charity are now looking at setting up a survivors group for men.

For more information about Mind Mosaic and its services call 01475 892208 or email admin@mindmosaic.co.uk