Abuse report – at a glance

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The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse was established in 2000 to investigate allegations of abuse at Catholic-run children’s institutions in Ireland.

READ THE INQUIRY’S SUMMARY

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The main findings were:

  • Physical and emotional abuse and neglect were features of the institutions.
  • Sexual abuse occurred in many of them, particularly boys’ institutions.
  • Schools were run in a severe, regimented manner that imposed unreasonable and oppressive discipline on children and even on staff.
  • Children were frequently hungry and food was inadequate, inedible and badly prepared in many schools.
  • Many witnesses spoke of being constantly fearful or terrified, which impeded their emotional development and impacted on every aspect of their life in the institution.
  • Prolonged, excessive beatings with implements intended to cause maximum pain occurred with the knowledge of senior staff.
  • There was constant criticism and verbal abuse and children were told they were worthless.
  • Some children lost their sense of identity and kinship, which was never recovered.
  • Absconders were severely beaten, at times publicly. Some had their heads shaved and were humiliated.
  • Inspectors, on their occasional visits, rarely spoke to the children in the institutions.
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