Friday, 21 February 2014

The survivors of Medomsley show support for all the victims and survivors in Northern Ireland and any other person who were abuse in the care system wherever it took place


The survivors and victims from Medomsley detention Centre and so many other care homes and foster parents, industrial schools work houses, the many from almost every church of religion as none are without blame, 

We welcome the actions taken by the Northern Ireland government and churches as well as fully support victims of abuse from all country's in demanding that the actions being taken in Ireland UK will also actually apply here in the United Kingdom, 

The types of abuse carried by these so called carers completely ruined lives and even those words have no meaning because in many cases this was their life from almost day one

Contact Survivorsni
Telephone: 02890 313008 

SAVIA  Survivors & Victims of instatutional Abuse

The Guardian,

Northern Ireland child abuse inquiry: 'We were child slaves from a young age'

Hundreds come forward to tell Northern Ireland inquiry about historical institutional abuse in the country

Margaret McGuckin and Alison Diver
Margaret McGuckin, left, and Alison Diver both say that abuse they suffered as children has had a devastating effect on their lives. Photograph: Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye
Amid blanket coverage of high-profile child sex abuse investigations in the wake of revelations involving Jimmy Savile and other celebrities, one child abuse inquiry has remained below the public's radar. But the Northern Ireland Historical Institutional Abuse inquiry is slowly emerging from relative obscurity.

The inquiry is separate from a recent major police investigation in the country that has led to the arrest of more than 30 people for sexual exploitation of children and young people who have gone missing from the care system over the past 18 months.

Formally established by law in January this year, the historical inquiry is tasked with examining if there were "systemic failings" by state and church in children's homes between 1922 and 1995 – a period spanning more than 70 years. Earlier this month, the inquiry held its third public hearing in Belfast, where its chairman, the former high court judge Sir Anthony Hart, named, for the first time, some of the institutions under investigation, including former children's homes run by the Catholic church.

Hart also confirmed that the final deadline for victims wishing to apply to give evidence would be the end of November, and he made fresh calls for people now living outside Northern Ireland who had been abused as children in the country to come forward. Earlier this month, 363 people had already made formal applications to speak to the inquiry; some were in their 80s. Hart said that more than 100 were living in mainland Britain, the US and Australia.

Margaret McGuckin was one of the first victims to submit an application to give evidence to the inquiry, which is looking at all types of abuse: physical and emotional as well as sexual.

In 1968, aged 11, McGuckin left Nazareth House, a children's home in Belfast run by the Nazareth Sisters. After eight years in the home, she did her best to get on with her life, but like many survivors, she told no one for decades what had happened to her there. "You didn't want to think about it because the memories were just too much," she says. "We were child slaves from a very young age." Young children were expected to carry out gruelling domestic chores and were wantonly punished, she says. "We were getting practically drowned in baths, beaten and starved. It was pure and sheer neglect: coldness, cruelty and humiliation. Can you imagine the damaged goods coming out of that? And I was certainly damaged goods. I was made to feel worthless, that I was a bad person." She was eventually diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

McGuckin, now 56, became a campaigner for survivors of abuse a few years ago, after seeing someone she had been in Nazareth House with talking on television about the abuse she had experienced. "The scales came off my eyes. I couldn't ignore this any more and I immediately got in touch with her."

It was at a time when people across Ireland were beginning to speak out, thanks in large part to the Ryan commission into the abuse of thousands of children in more than 250 mainly church-run institutions in the south of Ireland. It published its damning report in May 2009, not long after widespread media coverage of the Magdalene Laundries scandals, involving the incarceration and abuse in convents of women and girls.
McGuckin and others are grateful for the inquiry, and are keen to ensure that it hears from as many survivors as possible, that awareness of what happened is raised and that people and institutions are held accountable. But as the next stage of the hearings approaches – where evidence will be given in public – concerns are being raised about the scope of the inquiry and the processes for supporting survivors.

Alison Diver, 44, was placed in care in numerous institutions during the 1980s. She says she experienced various types of abuse and that the impact on her life was "devastating" – she has had severe depression and has attempted suicide. The "extremely stressful" process of dredging up memories in private, informal interviews with the inquiry team might have been made easier, she suggests, if a dedicated mental health professional specialising in trauma had been present. She says she "needed more help" during and after giving evidence than the witness support officers were able to give.

The Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister, which announced the inquiry, has recently commissioned the setting up of a helpline for victims. But Diver and McGuckin claim that more support is needed for victims when they first encounter the inquiry.

"There are no counsellors on hand," says McGuckin. "We feel like we are going there and we are being retraumatised. I'd like to see better support."

Hart said that, although inquiry members are very aware of the emotional distress that coming to see them can generate for applicants, "unfortunately, this is unavoidable by the very nature of the task". He added: "The role of the inquiry is not to provide expert counselling or psychiatric care. That is for the health and social care services and specialist organisations."

Another survivor, Jim McCleave, 47, believes that, in addition to support issues, the scope of the inquiry should have been wider. For example, it isn't investigating clerical abuse and has no power to determine the civil or criminal liability of individuals. McCleave, who was raped at 13 by a youth worker, went "off the rails" as a result, and ended up, aged 15, in St Patrick's Training Centre in Belfast on remand, only to be sexually abused by a monk in whose care he was placed.

He says he worries that "it's all just words … a paper exercise", and that individual perpetrators won't be brought to justice. He says he would like to see a full-scale police investigation. "The cats and dogs in the street know there was institutional abuse. There's no point in having an inquiry to tell us what we already know," he says.

But the inquiry is clear that it is not within its purview to instigate prosecutions as a result of any allegations bought to its attention. It can, however, report "matters of a criminal nature" to the police, who could then refer cases to the public prosecution service.

The final issue that victims want clarity on is compensation. The inquiry's terms of reference state that compensation "is a matter that the executive will discuss and agree following receipt of the inquiry and investigation report". The final report is expected in January 2016. But for McGuckin, who is now a spokeswoman for the charity Survivors and Victims of Institutional Abuse, and whose brother was also abused in a separate home for boys, compensation is a crucial part of redress.

"It's time to pay up and to compensate victims so they can live the rest of their lives with no worry of deprivation," she says. "We want justice. It's been a long time coming."


Brothers recall terrifying cycle of sexual and physical abuse at children’s home

Willie Kelly
Willie Kelly is still haunted by his childhood experiences at Rubane House.
THE death of their mother (in Fintona) during the early 1950s dealt a cruel hand to two local men and their six brothers and sisters.

At a time when they should have been enjoying growing up, the brothers were separated from their siblings, and plunged into a terrifying cycle of sexual and physical abuse in one of the North’s most notorious institutions.

For Patrick Murphy and Willie Kelly, the painful memories of that period will never fade. Both are now aged in their 70s and say they will never forget the horrors of their youth.

The shocking nature of the abuse which children were subjected to at Rubane House in Kircubbin, Co Down and other institutions is currently being investigated by the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry.

Last week, The De La Salle Brothers – which ran Rubane House – was one of two Catholic orders that said sorry for the abuse children suffered in their children’s homes in Northern Ireland.

The Sisters of Nazareth and the De La Salle Brothers issued apologies on the second day of the inquiry in Banbridge – the biggest public inquiry into child abuse ever to take place in the UK.

It is investigating abuse claims in 13 children’s homes and juvenile justice centres in Northern Ireland, from 1922 to 1995, including Rubane House.

Upwards on 100 people from the Omagh and Strabane areas are said to have submitted evidence to the inquiry.

However, the brothers are not taking part because they feel it has come “too late” for them.

“I am 77 years of age now and the chances of me getting anything other than a feeble sorry are remote,” said Patrick. “But if we had been born in Donegal then we’d have received compensation.

“It is hard to say why all of this has taken so long and to be quite honest our view is that they’re only going to be touching the surface of what went on.

“My intention was to take this to the grave with me. But when the inquiries started in the Republic my son began asking me about my experiences because he knew I’d been in a children’s home here.

“He started to make the connection. The real truth became apparent and he couldn’t believe that I had held onto those memories for all these years.”

Patrick and Willie never met for almost four decades following their mother’s death. Both now live in Strabane and it was only by chance that they discovered their shared experience in Rubane House.

“You could have knocked me over with a feather when Willie told me that he had also been in Rubane House,” said Patrick.

After spending most of their lives being separated from each other and their other brothers and sisters, the family is now reunited. Despite the brothers’ reluctance to take part in the inquiry, Survivors NI is appealing for other local people who have been abused to contact them.

Spokesperson Margaret McGuckin told the Ulster Herald, “Our organisation has been contacted by upwards of 100 people from the West Tyrone area. Many more have not come forward, but I would urge them to contact us because there is nothing to fear,” Ms McGuckin said.

“Victims now have protection and, while we have given a guarded welcome to the apologies by two religious orders in the Catholic Church, this must be supported by their full co-operation with the inquiry.

“At last the victims of this abuse have been given a voice and I have seen grown men and women cry tears of relief that their stories are finally being listened to.

“The pain which they have carried with them for a lifetime never goes away. There will be more heartache ahead for them, but it will be worth it.”


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