Monday 12 March 2012

Historical abuse enquiry in Northern Ireland

There's an interesting story on the BBC Northern Ireland website at concerning a meeting in Armagh attended by representatives from several Roman Catholic orders in Northern Ireland which are now trawling their archives for evidence of clerical abuse in institutions responsible for child care in the country from 1945 onwards. Their commitment to uncover all that can be uncovered has been given as part of a new enquiry being established by the Northern Ireland Executive into historical abuse, not just that committed by members of the Catholic Church, but by other state based institutions. The forthcoming enquiry, agreed last September (see follows similar proceedings in the Republic of Ireland. Survivors of abuse in the north are looking for safeguards through the legal process to ensure sight of all relevant records, hence the attendance of the Catholic orders' archivists in Armagh at the meeting with Cardinal Brady and the Northern Ireland Survivors and Victims of Institutional Abuse group (aka Savia).

It's worth noting that failings on such record keeping in Scotland recently led to the creation of the Public Records (Scotland) Act 2011, in the aftermath of the 2007 Historic Abuse Systemic Review: Residential Schools and Children’s Homes in Scotland 1950-1995 report, aka The Shaw Report. This led to new standards on record keeping being implemented for public authorities in Scotland, in the first legislation of its kind since 1937 (see


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