Tusla has launched a helpline for anyone connected with Mother and Baby Homes who suffered abuse as a child.
The organisation is appealing to anyone connected with the homes, or is concerned that a child is at risk from the person that harmed them, to make contact. The agency said the perpetrators may have been involved in the abuse of multiple children over time.
A dedicated helpline has been set up and can be reached by calling Freephone: 1800 805 665, available from Tuesday 4th to Friday 14th May 2021, from 10:00am to 4:00pm daily.
The appeal said: “Following the publication of the Final Report on the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes we are aware that many women who were connected to Mother and Baby Homes and gave birth, were underage at the time. In some cases, they became pregnant as a result of sexual abuse. This may mean that the person who caused them harm could have continued to abuse other children, and/or many be a risk to children today.”
Speaking about the issue, Cormac Quinlan, Director of Transformation and Policy, Tusla said: “As the State agency responsible for the protection and welfare of children 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 recognise how difficult it is for someone to talk about an abusive experience but sharing experiences and information helps us to keep current children safe.
“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. We will also share reports of abuse with An Garda Síochána, as we are obliged to do.”
Tusla and An Garda Síochána will continue to work together to assist victims. An Garda Síochána is again appealing to anyone who wishes to report a crime relating to a pregnancy and/or abuse involving their stay at a Mother and Baby Home to contact them.
To support the reporting of such crimes a dedicated email address is in place – MotherandBabyHomes@garda.ie, along with a confidential Freephone number – 1800 555 222. Crimes can also be reported at your local Garda station.
Anyone contacting An Garda Síochána on such matters will receive personal contact within 48 hours. All complaints will be dealt with in a sensitive manner, taken seriously and examined. If they can’t be investigated due to issues such as the loss of evidence due to the passage of time or the death of witnesses and/or suspects then this will be explained to complainants.
Since making this appeal last Thursday (April 29 2021), An Garda Síochána has been contacted by a number of people wishing to report a crime.