January 19, 2022

Appeal to Kilkenny Mother and Baby home survivors amid fears of ongoing abuse

The State agency dealing with the fallout from the Mother and Baby homes scandal is urging anyone in Kilkenny who feels a child is currently at risk from the person who abused them to contact them urgently.

Tusla today issued the appeal to anyone connected with the Mother and Baby Homes who suffered abuse as a child and is now concerned that a current child is at risk from the person that harmed them to make contact.

A Mother and Baby home which operated on the site of St Columba’s Hospital in Thomastown until the 1970s was criticised in the final Report by the Commission of Investigation into the scandal earlier this year.

Kilkenny County Council subsequently apologised to survivors and the relatives of those who were residents at the home.

Following the publication of that report, Tusla became aware that many women who were connected to Mother and Baby Homes and subsequently gave birth were underage at the time. In some cases they became pregnant as a result of sexual abuse and there are fears that some perpetrators may have continued to abuse other children, or may still pose a risk to minors.

Tusla Director of Transformation and Policy Cormac Quinn said: “We have a responsibility to keep children as safe as possible. This includes children who could be at risk from someone who harmed a child in the past.

“We know from the numerous reports about historical child sexual abuse in Ireland that many perpetrators of abuse were involved in the abuse of multiple children over time.

“We are aware that some women may have concerns that they want to share but don’t want to make a complaint directly to An Garda Síochána. In these cases, we will listen, assist, advise, and act to keep children safe,” Mr Quinlan added.

A dedicated helpline has been set up and can be reached by calling Freephone: 1800 805 665, available from Tuesday, May 4 to Friday, May 14.

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