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07th Oct 2021

PSNI set to investigate alleged abuse in mother and baby homes

Katy Brennan

The decision follows a report recommending a public inquiry into the institutions.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland has said it is prepared to investigate alleged abuse involving mother and baby homes, Magdalene laundries, and workhouses.

This comes after an expert panel recommended the establishment of a public inquiry to investigate the experiences of thousands of women in the homes.

The Northern Executive is now considering these recommendations.

The panel also called for immediate redress payments for those affected as well as “all organisations and individuals complicit in institutionalisation and forced labour, family separation, and adoption to act without delay in issuing unqualified apologies.”

Chief Superintendent Anthony McNally, head of the service’s Public Protection Branch, said it was ready to investigate and recognised the “profound impact” these institutions had on people’s lives.

“Specially trained officers within our Historical Child Abuse Team will be investigating all allegations of non-recent physical and sexual abuse against residents of these homes.

“We have, from today, launched dedicated reporting mechanisms to make it easier for people to come forward to us with information.”

Over 10,000 women passed through mother and baby homes in Northern Ireland between 1922 and 1990. 3,000 were sent to Magdalene laundries in Derry, Belfast, and Newry.

Many testimonies from victims and survivors tell of how they were subject to verbal and physical abuse, sexual abuse, worked in harsh conditions, and were forced to give up their babies.

Chief McNally went on to encourage “anyone who has been the victim of non-recent abuse or any criminal act arising out of these homes, or who has information likely to assist an investigation into a criminal act committed, to please come forward.

“We care about what you have to say, will listen and support you, and will act to keep you and others safe.”

Anyone wishing to contact the investigation can email [email protected] or call (+44) (0) 90901728 between 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday.