The Police Service of Northern Ireland launched an investigation into allegations of abuse within Mother and Baby Institutions, Work Houses and Magdalene Laundries in Northern Ireland on 6th October 2021.
These institutions housed many, including pregnant women and girls from 1922 to 1990 in Northern Ireland, who often felt coerced into giving up their child. Thousands of people are said to have lived in, worked in or visited these institutions over a 68-year period.
Officers in the dedicated investigation team have now received 80 reports; many of which include allegations of inconsistencies with birth records from those who were adopted from Northern Irish institutions and now live overseas. Enquires to date suggest that there could be more victims and witnesses out there, with many moving or being adopted to countries overseas like New Zealand.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland are renewing their appeal and encouraging more people to come forward to report to Police and have their voice heard.
They are appealing to anyone currently residing in New Zealand, mothers who gave birth in one of these institutions in Northern Ireland, was adopted from, visited, or worked there to come forward and report to them. Any information could be helpful.
Detective Superintendent Gary Reid, who is the operational lead for this Police Service of Northern Ireland investigation said:
“We know that many people who may have given birth in these institutions, or who were adopted from them now reside outside of Northern Ireland, including countries like New Zealand.
“Our aim is to reach as many people as possible and convey that here in Northern Ireland this investigation is very much ongoing.
“We don’t want anyone to feel they have to suffer in silence anymore and we will continue to do all we can to reach as many people with this message as possible.
“If you believe you were the victim of abuse or other forms of criminality in any of these institutions in Northern Ireland, or know somebody who was, or if you witnessed anything suspicious, please contact us.
“We care about what you have to say, will listen and support you, and will act to keep you and others safe.”
A dedicated reporting system is in place to make it easier for people to report.
If you are a resident of New Zealand and wish to contact the dedicated Mother and Baby Institutions, Work Houses and Magdalene Laundries Investigative Team in Northern Ireland, you can do so via the following options:
Phone: Direct line (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm GMT): 00 4428 9090 1728
List of all the institutions involved:
- St Mary’s Home, Belfast – 1867-1982 (Good Shepherd Sisters)
- St Mary’ Home, Derry/Londonderry – 1922-1982 (Good Shepherd Sisters)
- St Mary’s Home, Newry – 1946-1984 (Good Shepherd Sisters)
- Salvation Army/Rescue Home, Belfast – 1886-1965
Mother and Baby Institutions:
- Mater Dei, Belfast – 1942-1984 (Legion of Mary)
- Marianville, Belfast – 1950-1990 (Good Shepherd Sisters)
- Marianvale, Newry – 1955-1984 (Good Shepherd Sisters)
- Mission/Malone Place Maternity Home and Rescue Home – 1860-1948
- Church of Ireland Rescue League/Kennedy House, Belfast – 1912-1956
- Hopedene House, Belfast – 1943-1985
- Salvation Army, Thorndale House – 1920-1977
Health and Social Services/Charities:
- Mount Oriel, Belfast – 1969-1980s (EHSSB)
- Deanery Flats, Belfast – 1973-1991 (Barnardo’s)
- Belfast and Coleraine Welfare Flats – 1940s-1980s