Kayleigh's story How one mum saved an 8-year-old girl

Girl sitting by wall

Kayleigh* was a bubbly little girl. She lived with her foster family and walked to school every morning with her friend and her friend's mum, Harriet*. One morning, Harriet noticed Kayleigh's eyes were all red. She'd been crying and looked shaken up. 

What Kayleigh told Harriet that morning horrified her. Kayleigh was being abused by her foster mum. She'd beaten her with a metal pipe and stamped on her bare feet. 

Imagine how scared and isolated Kayleigh would have felt. Instead of dreaming about what she wanted to be when she was older, she didn't want to be here at all. 

Working on the helpline, sadly, I hear about children like Kayleigh every day. And what upsets me the most is that all too often they are being abused at the hands of the people who are supposed to protect them and keep them safe. 

"She said she'd been hit on the back with a long pipe..."
Helpline practitioner

It must have been difficult for Harriet to think about Kayleigh in danger. And even harder to know what to do. But thankfully, Harriet made the brave decision to speak up for Kayleigh – she contacted our helpline. And thanks to your support, we were able to answer her call and give Kayleigh the safety she desperately needed. 

Without Harriet's call, Kayleigh's abuse could have gone on for months, maybe even years. And for many young children like her, our helpline is their only hope. 

"I could tell Kayleigh was really shaken up by what had happened"
Helpline practitioner

As Harriet told us: "I saw Kayleigh stood outside school crying. She looked like she was going to run away. I'd been told by a friend who worked at the school that Kayleigh had been sent to school with mouldy sandwiches more than once. I was so anxious about her safety. I felt like she was trying to tell people what was happening to her, but no one was listening. Someone had to do something."

After speaking to Harriet, we felt Kayleigh's situation was so serious that we contacted social services and got them to remove her from her foster family straight away. Thanks to Harriet's call, Kayleigh was placed with a new family who were able to keep her safe.


Names have been changed to protect identities. Any photographs are posed by models.