Inquiry finds evidence of ‘systematic abuse’

The former Lissue Hospital building in Lisburn was gutted by fire in June 2016. Pic by Freddie Parkinson
The former Lissue Hospital building in Lisburn was gutted by fire in June 2016. Pic by Freddie Parkinson

The Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) Inquiry has found evidence that children were abused at two institutions in the Lisburn area.

The inquiry report, published on January 20, found evidence of “systemic failings to a greater or lesser degree” in the majority of the institutions and homes it investigated, including Lissue Hospital and Manor House Home.

The probe into allegations of children being mistreated while in residential care at Lissue Hospital commenced on April 4, 2016 and spanned nine sitting days.

Ten witnesses came forward to the inquiry and gave evidence of “a harsh and punitive regime” at the hospital, which ceased operating as a Child Psychiatry Unit in 1991.

The inquiry found evidence of “systemic failings” at the hospital and concluded that “some children were subjected to systemic abuse by being sexually abused”, while others were “emotionally abused by staff who were unfeeling and failed the children who required their support.”

The investigation into allegations of abuse at the former Manor House Home, which was run by the Irish Church Missions organisation, commenced on January 5, 2016 and spanned four sitting days.

The inquiry heard from six former residents of the ‘voluntary home for children’, which closed in 1984, and found evidence of physical, emotional and sexual abuse.

The HIA Inquiry, led by Chairman Sir Anthony Hart, investigated allegations of historical abuse at more than 20 institutions over a 73 year period, from 1922 - 1995.

The 2,300-page report reveals “evidence of sexual, physical and emotional abuse, neglect and unacceptable practices across the institutions and homes examined.”

Summarising the inquiry’s findings, Sir Anthony Hart paid tribute to the courage of the applicants who came forward to engage with the inquiry and recommended compensation for victims.

For further information about the HIA Inquiry log on to www.hiainquiry.org