Police probe 29 alleged physical, sexual abuses in orphanages

Police launched an investigation into allegations of physical and sexual abuse involving the homes in October 2021.
Police launch 29 allegations around mother, baby homes in Northern Ireland

Police launch 29 allegations around mother, baby homes in Northern Ireland

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The Police are probing 29 allegations of criminal activity around mother and baby homes in Northern Ireland.

Officers have received reports from a number of people who were adopted from different named institutions and also from some who either worked there or were residents within these institutions.

In 2021, a major academic research report was published outlining the scale of mistreatment endured by thousands of women and girls in the institutions, the last of which closed in the 1990s.

Police launched an investigation into allegations of physical and sexual abuse involving the homes in October 2021.

Police spokesperson said all those who have come forward have been spoken to by a specialist detective from the Historic Child Abuse Unit within the Public Protection Branch and have been offered the opportunity to have their account recorded so that a criminal investigation can take place.

Detectives have encouraged more victims and witnesses to come forward and are particularly keen to reach expats who now live outside Northern Ireland, including in Great Britain, U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Police have been working with the groups Truth Recover NI and Birth Mothers and their Children for Justice NI.

Maria Cogley, from the Truth Recovery Group said a number of their members have made statements to police.

“Establishing potential criminality is imperative, either during individuals’ confinement in one or more of the many types of NI institutions or as babies, now adults, born from an institution in Northern Ireland and subsequently adopted through coercive methods, fostered or boarded out or sent to institutions specifically for children.

“Truth Recovery NI is actively encouraging survivors to contact the Investigative team,” she said.

A dedicated reporting system has been set up and the research report, by Queen’s University and Ulster University, found that more than 14,000 girls and women went through the doors of mother and baby homes, Magdalene laundries and other institutions between 1922 and 1990.

An expert panel has recommended a public inquiry into the matter as well as redress and access to files.

In November 2021, the then deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said the Stormont Executive was committed to implementing the recommendations.

However, she said it would not be possible to advance legislation to set up the public inquiry until the new assembly mandate later this year.

-dpa/NAN

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