Watch: Public inquiry into Northern Ireland mother and baby homes recommended by panel
Police in Northern Ireland have announced a probe into allegations of abuse at mother and baby homes.
The announcement comes after an independent panel recommended a public inquiry to examine human rights abuses in the homes, Magdalene laundries and workhouses.
Earlier this year, a major academic research report was published outlining the scale of mistreatment endured by thousands of women and girls in the institutions.
The study, by Queen’s University and Ulster University, found that more than 14,000 girls and women went through the doors of mother and baby homes, Magdalene laundries and other institutions between 1922 and 1990.
It found that women were mistreated, held against their will and forced to give up children for adoption.
On Wednesday, the PSNI announced an investigation into allegations of physical and sexual abuse in the institutions.
Detective Chief Superintendent Anthony McNally, Head of Public Protection Branch, said they have created dedicated reporting mechanisms to make it easier for people to come forward.
He pledged that all reports received will be examined thoroughly and any criminality detected will be robustly investigated.
“The Police Service of Northern Ireland welcomes the publication of this report,” he said.
“We also recognise the profound impact on the lives of those who were in Mother and Baby Homes and Magdalene Laundries, and the concerns of the wider public on how they were operated.
“Specially trained officers within our Historical Child Abuse Team will be investigating all allegations of non-recent physical and sexual abuse against residents of these homes.
“We have, from today, launched dedicated reporting mechanisms to make it easier for people to come forward to us with information.
“All reports we receive will be examined thoroughly and any criminality detected will be robustly investigated.
“I would encourage anyone who has been the victim of non-recent abuse or any criminal act arising out of these homes, or who has information likely to assist an investigation into a criminal act committed, to please come forward and report this.”
The Mother and Baby Homes and Magdalene Laundries Investigative Team can be contacted via email at MotherBabyHomes.Magdalenelaundries@psni.police.uk or by phone (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm) on 02890 901728.
Outside of office hours, you can call 101 to speak to a call handler from the Police Service of Northern Ireland who will pass on details to the investigation team.