Majority of institutional abuse survivors report psychological disorder

One-third of survivors had depressive, anxiety or alcohol and drug use disorders at some point in their lifetimes.
Majority of institutional abuse survivors report psychological disorder

Survivors of institutional abuse are vulnerable due to the trauma they suffered in State-funded care. File picture. 

Survivors of institutional abuse are vulnerable due to the trauma they suffered in State-funded care and must now receive increased medical, psychological and housing support, a new report has found.

Four out of five survivors reported having a psychological disorder at some point in their lives, significantly more than the one in four found in a community setting, Professor Alan Carr of the UCD School of Psychology said in the newly published report called Facing the Future Together.

And about one-third of survivors had depressive, anxiety or alcohol and drug use disorders at some point in their lifetimes.

Because survivors have a more difficult time as adults as a direct result of what happened to them as children in institutions, they should receive additional medical, psychological and housing supports, the report advocates.

It calls on the Government to provide Mother and Baby Home and other State institution survivors with:   

• Enhanced medical cards and support with housing 

• Continuation of free, easily accessible counselling services for survivors and their families 

• Provision of advocacy supports for survivors in the long-term, including accessing public services, linkage with support services, homelessness and addiction supports 

• All medical, and public service staff working in a customer-facing role should receive trauma-informed practice training on how to identify survivors and the different approaches to the support they may require.

• Identification of supports needed by survivors based outside of Ireland.

The Christine Buckley Centre for Education and Support, an organisation which supports survivors of institutional abuse, has sent the report to every TD and senator.

Its chairman Donal Buckley said the report was essential reading for legislators, especially as the latest document of the Commission of Inquiry into Mother and Baby Homes is about to emerge.

“The Christine Buckley Centre calls on the Government to provide all survivors, including survivors of industrial schools, with the resources identified in the recently published Facing the Future Together report," Mr Buckley said. "The report is based on evidence-based qualitative research from respected academics, input from survivors of industrial schools and knowledge sharing from service providers with years of experience."

Seven organisations – the Christine Buckley Centre for Education and Support, Barnardos Origins, Caranua, One in Four, HSE National Counselling Service, Right of Place Second Chance and Towards Healing – contributed to the report.

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