Emotional and sexual abuse in mother and baby homes among 64 new complaints to gardaí

Emotional and sexual abuse in mother and baby homes among 64 new complaints to gardaí

Gardaí appealed to people to come forward if they wished to report a crime at mother and baby homes after the official commission of investigation final report stated it had not found sufficient information to warrant criminal investigations. Picture: Andy Newman

Gardaí have received 64 complaints involving people alleging abuse or mistreatment in mother and baby homes.

The most common allegations were emotional abuse, sexual abuse, involvement in medical treatments, and illegal adoptions.

The complaints were made after gardaí launched an appeal on April 29 to anyone wishing to report a crime committed during their time at a mother and baby home.

The appeal was issued after a high-level garda review of the Final Report of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes, published last January, did not find sufficient information to warrant criminal investigations.

The specialist Garda National Protective Services Bureau is overseeing the examination into the complaints received.

A garda report on the appeal shows that, as of June 15:

  • 64 complaints have been received by the GNPSB;
  • 20 of the complaints came through the Child Sexual Abuse Reporting phone line;
  • 39 complaints were from emails sent by people directly affected (19 complaints) or via third parties, such as solicitors or religious institutions (20 complaints);
  • Five reports were to garda stations, either notified to GNPSB or identified by the bureau from the garda Pulse system.  

The garda report said: “Every person who made an allegation and provided contact details was contacted to establish definitively what is alleged and whether or not they wished to pursue a criminal complaint.” 

It said the types of crimes and incidents alleged were as follows:

  • Emotional abuse — 17;
  • Sexual abuse — 9;
  • Physical abuse/mistreatment — 6;
  • Legality of adoption/birth cert falsified — 9;
  • Medical treatments/vaccine trials — 10;
  • Baby deaths/burial — 4;
  • Other crimes (theft/State corruption) — 4 

No offence was disclosed in five other cases.

The report said: “There may be cases which cannot be progressed by virtue of the age and/or nature of the complaint. However, engagement will continue until each report has been brought to a conclusion with a full explanation of the undertakings furnished to affected parties.” 

It is understood that gardaí view the prospect of criminal investigations arising as slim, for various reasons, including the passage of time and deaths of people accused. However, the garda appeal continues. 

• Anyone who wishes to report a crime committed during their time at an Irish mother and baby home can email MotherandBabyHomes@garda.ie. 

• Or you can phone the free and confidential Garda Child Sexual Abuse Reporting Line on 1800 555222, available 24 hours a day every day. 

• Alternatively, you can contact your local garda station. 

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