ISPCC notes publication of seminal Mother and Baby Homes report

The ISPCC has noted the publication today of the seminal final report of the Mother and Baby Homes Commission.

The organisation, which provides services to children, young people and families across Ireland and advocates on their behalf, urged that the systemic and brutal mistreatment of children and young women which occurred in Mother and Baby Homes throughout Ireland never be allowed to be repeated.

ISPCC Chief Executive John Church said: “The report published today reflects a relatively recent dark period of Irish history, in which vulnerable children and young women, many of whom themselves were young girls, were not afforded due support, nor protection.

“Over 5,600 women under the age of 18, including some as young as just 12 years of age, resided in the homes which were investigated. They were outcast in society, often harrowingly denied the opportunity to bond with their children and did not have their rights upheld. Many suffered significant trauma, with their lives irreparably impacted. Many died without ever knowing the truth.

‘The high rate of infant mortality in the homes as outlined by the report – which references the deaths of about 9,000 children in the homes under investigation – is difficult to comprehend. The report further outlines how in many cases communities and authorities were aware of these high mortality rates, including that 40 per cent of ‘illegitimate’ children in the institutions in the 1930s and 1940s died before they reached their first birthdays.

‘It is imperative that what happened in the Mother and Baby Homes is never forgotten. We must all act to ensure that such heinous occurrences are never allowed to take place again. A questioning culture and a listening culture must be upheld by our society.

“All children have a right to be safe and a right to be protected and it behoves all of society to ensure these rights are upheld. Sadly, Ireland has seen a litany of instances over recent decades in which this has not happened. The country has a bleak history of not listening to children and not acting in their best interests. The publication of this report today marks an important contribution to our understanding of what has gone before us and the standards we must have in place today to keep children safe.

“Children First legislation now in place requires all organisations entrusted with the care of children to ensure they have robust child protection policies in place, which are upheld by all individuals within the organisation.

“The ISPCC will take time to consult the report in depth and reflect on its recommendations.”

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