Amnesty International has welcomed an announcement by Northern Ireland’s Historic Institutional Abuse inquiry that it will investigate allegations of abuse at six additional institutions, including a number of Mother and Baby Homes.
Chair of the Inquiry, Sir Anthony Hart, said the Inquiry will investigate Manor House near Lisburn, Millisle Borstal, St Joseph’s Training School for Girls in Middletown, Co Armagh, and three Good Shepherd convents in Derry/Londonderry, Belfast and Newry. It brings the total number of institutions being investigated to 22.
Amnesty has campaigned alongside child abuse victims and women and children from the Mother and Baby Homes for an investigation into allegations of sexual, physical and mental abuse as well as the forced adoption of babies born in the institutions.
Patrick Corrigan, Northern Ireland Programme Director of Amnesty International, said:
“The inclusion of the Mother and Baby Homes and the other children’s institutions in the Abuse Inquiry is very welcome news. Victims of abuse, including those young women and girls who suffered in Mother and Baby Homes, are now a step closer to uncovering publicly the truth of what happened to them and their babies.
“Some women have told us how their newborn babies were taken away from them and given away for adoption without their consent. It is hard to think of a more cruel act to perpetrate on a new mother, yet we know this happened the length and breadth of Ireland.
“The inclusion of these additional institutions in the Inquiry is a significant result for those women and child abuse victims who have called for justice. Yet, we know there are still others, including victims of clerical abuse within the community rather than in children’s homes, who are still waiting for a similar inquiry into their suffering.”
Amnesty also welcomed news that the Inquiry is recommending that the Northern Ireland Executive should establish a financial compensation scheme for those who suffered abuse in children’s homes and other institutions in Northern Ireland.
Patrick Corrigan said:
“For some years Amnesty has called for the Northern Ireland Executive to commit to a compensation scheme for abuse victims. The announcement by Sir Anthony that he backs this call is a very welcome development. His recommendation now places the onus on Ministers to put in place a victims’ compensation scheme and to ensure that both government, religious and other organisations make the necessary funds available.”