*** Warning – contains sensitive content (name changed to protect anonymity) ***

“I was this frail little girl who nobody came to rescue.”

Ever since she can remember up until the age of 28, Lizzie was in thrall to a terrifying reign of violence, neglect and abuse.

Picture: istock
Picture: istock

It was inflicted by the person who should have loved her unconditionally - her mother.

For decades, Lizzie, from Suffolk, lived in the shadow of her abuser, burdened with invisible scars and wounds that could never really heal.

Until now.

Picture: istock
Picture: istock

Following the death of her mother, Lizzie found the strength to seek justice.

Last month, she was granted the closure and recognition she had long sought from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.

With a lifelong burden lifted, she has decided to share her story to show others that they are not alone.

Picture: istock
Picture: istock

“I was the child she never wanted and I think she was embarrassed by the way I walked.”

Lizzie takes a breath.

“I think the reason she didn’t love me was that I was the reject,” she says.

“I was the child she never wanted and I think she was embarrassed by the way I walked.”

Lizzie’s entrance into the world could have been the end.

“I was born dead,” she explains.

The doctors managed to resuscitate her but Lizzie suffered some brain damage and was left with a disability.

But rather than an upbringing filled with support, guidance and encouragement from her mother, the threads of her formative years were laced with cruelty.

“My childhood wasn’t the best,” she admits. “The early days were pretty horrible.”

With wooden spoons, Lizzie’s mother would slap her around the top of her legs, she says.

Her guardian would grab her young face and squeeze it.

She would also punch her daughter in the face and hit her on the head.

“I became the punch bag,” Lizzie says.

“I would fall to the floor crying and I would go to my bedroom and cry myself to sleep.

“Whatever she could do to me, she would.”

Her medical needs surrounding her disability were neglected.

Her mother failed to ensure that her daughter received appropriate medical attention, which exacerbated her condition.

As a result, Lizzie was in and out of hospital requiring multiple bouts of surgery.

Both her femurs were broken, her pelvis broke in half, she needed a new knee and she had a broken toe.

Later in life, even when she left her mother’s home, the abuse continued, she says.

In one incident, Lizzie’s mother came to her house, smacked her in the head, knocking her to the floor and kicked her in the ribs.

“I couldn’t get away from her,” Lizzie says.

“She would hound me. I was too scared to go around the shops. I lived my life as much as I could away from her.”

In 1997, the violence, which had for years been hidden behind closed doors, was exposed to the public.

While Lizzie was shopping in a supermarket, her mother attacked her.

She was charged with common assault, fined and told to keep the peace for 12 months.

From then the physical abuse and physical contact between the pair stopped.

Picture: istock
Picture: istock

“I’m at peace now”

I had this premonition,” Lizzie remembers. “I looked in the mirror and said ‘I’m dying, I’ve got cancer, my eyes have gone yellow.”

Two months later, her partner was working in a care home.

“You’re not going to believe this but your mum’s here,” he told her.

Lizzie says: “It was really weird, it was like someone was trying to tell me something, something I had been waiting so long for.”

Her mother later died from cancer, but before her death, Lizzie decided to contact the police about the abuse.

“I told the police that I wanted some sort of closure regarding what she did to me,” Lizzie says.

“I was the frail little girl who nobody came to rescue.

“Because she was such a violent person I couldn’t go to the police years ago. I was frightened that if the police didn’t believe me, she would come after me again. She was just so violent.”

The police opened an investigation but her mother died.

Still in need of closure and recognition from the legal system, she applied to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).

She had to submit her medical records - 1,000 pages - and the authority secured information from the police.

“I was told there was an 18 month waiting list and I got a reply within two months,” she says.

CICA had until recently, been unable to pay compensation to victims who, before October 1 1979, were living with the person who injured them as family members.

However, legislation was passed by Parliament to remove this rule.

On September 12, she received a letter from the authority informing her she was eligible for compensation.

The letter, from a team decision maker, reads: “I appreciate that no amount of money can fully compensate you for the effects of the crime you suffered, but I hope that this decision will allow you some degree of redress.”

Although Lizzie does not wish to disclose the amount she was awarded, it was the affirmation she had long sought.

“It doesn’t matter how much is written on that cheque,” she says.

“The letter means more to me - it means I got closure, that somebody believed me and that she was a child abuser.”

That acknowledgement has given her the confidence to speak about her trauma to hopefully help others who may be or have been victims and survivors of abuse.

“I’m at peace now,” she says.

“This is a chapter of my life that is now closed.”

And she urges others to speak out if they can.

“What I would like people to know who have been abused is that the police take what you say seriously,” Lizzie says.

“I know at the time of speaking about the abuse it takes you back to very sad times and it’s like reliving every moment over again but trust me it’s worth doing.

“You get a great sense of relief and I hope my story will allow others who have experienced the same as I have to do the same and bring some sort of closure.”