Six allegations of criminal activity related to Mother and Baby Homes in Northern Ireland have been received by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) since commencing an investigation into allegations of physical and sexual abuse involving the institutions on October 6.
The investigation was launched in October following the publication of the report entitled "Mother and Baby Institutions, Magdalene Laundries and Workhouses in Northern Ireland - Truth, Acknowledgement, and Accountability." The PSNI welcomed the publication of the report and said that dedicated officers were ready and waiting to investigate reports of these crimes.
Today, November 2, the PSNI said that the reports lodged since the launch of the investigation last month are 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.
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.
All those in contact are also offered to be signposted to other services for help and support.
Officers are pleased that people are having the confidence after all these years to come forward and report. However, they believe there are still people out there who have suffered as a result of criminal activity taking place in these Homes.
Detective Chief Superintendent Anthony McNally, Head of Public Protection Branch said: “We recognise the profound impact on the lives of those who were in Mother and Baby Homes and Magdalene Laundries, and the concerns of the wider public on how they were operated.
“Those who suffered abuse in these Homes or know somebody who did, or those who may have witnessed potential criminal activity take place, please contact us. We don’t want anyone to feel they have to suffer in silence anymore.
“We will continue to circulate the details of our dedicated reporting channels but would ask that our local communities help us in getting the message out across Northern Ireland that we have a team of officers ready to robustly investigate reports made to us.”
In October, McNally said: “I would 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 and report this. 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 dedicated Mother and Baby Homes and Magdalene Laundries Investigative Team can do so via the following options:
- Email: MotherBabyHomes.Magdalenelaundries@psni.police.uk
- Direct line (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm): 02890 901728
- Outside of office hours, you can call 101 to speak to a call handler from the Police Service of Northern Ireland who will pass on your details to the dedicated investigation team to make direct contact.
PSNI says that officers will deal with any matters reported in a sensitive manner and will, where possible, progress matters through investigation.
The Truth Recovery Design Panel's report
The full report entitled ‘Mother and Baby Institutions, Magdalene Laundries and Workhouses in Northern Ireland – Truth, Acknowledgement, and Accountability' was launched by the Truth Recovery Panel, which was appointed by the Northern Ireland Executive, on October 5 at Stormont in Belfast.
The primary recommendation in the report is to establish an ‘Integrated Investigation’ by a non-statutory Independent Panel feeding into a statutory Public Inquiry.
The panel’s five core recommendations focus on: Adoption of Guiding Principles; Responsibilities of the Executive Office; An Integrated Truth Investigation; Access to Records; and Redress, Reparation, and Compensation
The full report can be viewed here.