Tag Archive: abuse

Inquiry reveals ‘historic widespread abuse’ in children’s homes

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DISTRESSING: The Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIA) studied allegations of abuse in 22 homes and other residential institutions between 1922 to 1995

DISTRESSING: The Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIA) studied allegations of abuse in 22 homes and other residential institutions between 1922 to 1995

Children's homes run by church and charities in Northern Ireland were the scene of widespread abuse and mistreatment of young residents, a report has found.

The Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIA) studied allegations of abuse in 22 homes and other residential institutions between 1922 to 1995.

The largest number of complaints related to four Catholic-run homes.

There was also sexual abuse carried out by priests and lay people.

The chair of the inquiry, Sir Anthony Hart, said the largest number of complaints received related to four Sisters of Nazareth homes. It found nuns physically and emotionally abused children in their care.

He said it was not uncommon for children to have Jeyes Fluid, a brand of disinfectant, put in their baths.

Many of these incidents relating to sexual abuse were known by members of the clergy who did nothing to stop them.

The HIA heard evidence from hundreds of people who spent their childhood in residential homes and institutions.

Hearings were held into facilities run by the state, local authorities, the Catholic Church, the Church of Ireland, and Barnardo's.

A total of 493 applicants engaged with the inquiry, in one form or another, and while the majority were seen in Belfast, others were seen in the Republic of Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales and Australia.

Outlining the social and economic background to institutional care in Northern Ireland, Sir Anthony said for "many years the financial circumstances and living conditions were very poor".

He said the extreme violence and civil disorder in the 1970s and 1980s did not leave those responsible for child care unscathed.

"These factors are largely forgotten today although there were many failures. Those failings must be examined against the backdrop of the political, social and economic circumstances at the time."

He then turned his attention to the former authority-run Kincora Boys' Home in east Belfast.

Sir Anthony said the inquiry had "stripped away decades of half truths masquerading as facts, in relation to Kincora and what state agencies did or did not do about (the abuse there)".

"Thirty-nine boys were abused at some point during their time at Kincora," he said.

Three men, William McGrath, Raymond Semple and Joseph Mains, who were senior care staff at Kincora, were jailed in 1981 for abusing 11 boys.

Sir Anthony said when the police became aware in 1974 of complaints against McGrath, the investigation was "inept and inadequate".

He said a proper investigation into McGrath may have meant the children who were abused after 1974 could have been spared.

Sir Anthony said that the boys were let down by those three individuals, who committed sexual abuse "of the gravest kind" to teenage boys in their care.

He added that the majority of the young boys at Kincora between 1958 and 1980, who gave evidence, said they were not sexually abused during their time there.

The inquiry also heard from former children migrants, children from Northern Ireland who were sent to live in Australia.

Sir Anthony said the HIA inquiry was the first in the UK to look at the child migrant scheme and said some of those who were sent away had been abused before they went away and others believed the scheme itself was abusive.

He said they had been unable to establish exactly how many children were sent to Australia, but at least 138, under the age of 13, were sent and, possibly as many as 144.

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Taping up psychological abuse for good

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RAISING AWARENESS: Seventeen-year-old Fizah Iqbal has created a video which highlights the problems created by psychological abuse

RAISING AWARENESS: Seventeen-year-old Fizah Iqbal has created a video which highlights the problems created by psychological abuse

Teens pioneering production aims to reach out to a national audience

A sixth form student from Leeds has created a groundbreaking video which highlights the problem of psychological abuse.

Seventeen-year-old Fizah Iqbal, of Allerton Grange School, produced the thought-provoking production as a way of tackling one of society’s least discussed issues.

As part of her online blog, ‘think lifestyle, think me’, Fizah already plays an active role in raising awareness of topics close to her heart with her followers.

It was at the Women of the World (WOW) event, held in Bradford in November, that the talented teen noticed more could be done to shine the spotlight on psychological abuse specifically, especially amongst young people, after listening to a range of speakers sharing their own experiences.

Inspired by the talks, Fizah set out on her mission, approaching peers and teachers within school, asking them if they would be willing to support her campaign.

Currently, she has over 60 students and staff who have had their photograph taken with an abusive word taped over their mouths, calling on their own past experiences to take an active part in the campaign to stop the use of derogatory or abusive language.

After producing the campaign herself, Fizah is now working with a Leeds-based domestic violence charity - Behind Closed Doors - to raise the profile of the video, due to be released later this month, as part of the national campaign ‘16 Days of Activism’ which hopes to raise awareness of, and help stop, Domestic Violence.

GROUNDBREAKING: Over 60 students and staff starred in the campaign

GROUNDBREAKING: Over 60 students and staff starred in the campaign

Fizah had this to say on the concept behind the video: “I think psychological abuse is more widespread amongst young people than is currently thought, but I see it a lot and it’s become common place for people to accept their boyfriend or girlfriend having the PIN to their phone or checking their social media accounts.

“Things might start off as small but can escalate quickly and we need to re-educate young people on what is and is not acceptable so that they can go on to form healthy relationships.

“Things like Memes are all too readily shared on social media taking the ‘mickey’ out of being under the thumb for example, but they lead to real issues being downplayed and seen as a source of humour.

“I hope that my video reaches far and wide and if it helps just one young person recognise psychological abuse then I’ll be happy.”

In the 100-second film - edited by Fizah - students and teachers feature with the various insults they have heard.

Signs and symptoms of psychological abuse include name calling, yelling, insulting the person, threatening the person or threatening to take away something that is important to them, imitating or mocking the person, swearing at them and ignoring or isolating the person.

Allerton Grange Headteacher, Mr Mike Roper, said the video was something the whole school was in support of.

He added: “I have been blown away by the initiative and commitment shown by Fizah to give something back to others by creating and sharing this awareness video.

“Through forging links with a local community organisation there are a number of opportunities for everyone involved with the school to support Behind Closed Doors, Fizah and this campaign nationally.”

Following her innovative project, Behind Closed Doors has invited Fizah to become the first Young Person’s Ambassador for the charity.

She is working with the project team on how to develop the role and utilise funding which is hoping to be secured in order to work with local schools and colleges.

Louise Tyne, Director of Behind Closed Doors, said: “When Fizah first approached the team, we were amazed that she had taken it upon herself to produce this video and raise awareness of psychological abuse amongst young people.

“Domestic abuse can take many forms, coercive control and psychological abuse is subtle but can be as damaging as physical abuse. We are proud to support Fizah in her campaign; her enthusiasm and creativity is inspiring.

“Together, we can work to raise awareness and provide young people with the support and information they need, and help all young people to have happy and healthy relationships.”

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Domestic abuse victim speaks out

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SPEAKING OUT: A woman has bravely stepped forward with her own story of domestic abuse, hoping it will help other people come forward

SPEAKING OUT: A woman has bravely stepped forward with her own story of domestic abuse, hoping it will help other people come forward

Violent incidents have increased since the launch of Euro 2016

A domestic abuse survivor has bravely spoken out in support of a campaign launched by to tackle violent behaviour.

Last month, West Yorkshire Police launched a campaign for the duration of the Euro 2016 football tournament to reduce the number of domestic abuse incidents after seeing an increase in incidents during other major sporting events.

The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, said that she never saw herself as a victim of domestic abuse until the violence escalated and she was left with serious injuries.

Last summer, her then husband violently assaulted her and she fled the house covered in blood, to safety and then called the police. Her main concern was not herself but to ensure her children were safe, as they were in the house at the time.

Once she had reported the incident to police, he pleaded guilty to common assault and was sentenced four months later. He received a suspended prison sentence and an indefinite restraining order, preventing him for contacting her.

She said: “The last incident was the final straw for me – there had been a number of incidents throughout my marriage when my husband was violent, but this was by far the worst. His eyes were glazed over in rage and kept saying over and over again that he was going to kill me.

“There is still a taboo around domestic abuse and an embarrassment around reporting incidents to the police. I now know what is acceptable and what isn’t in a relationship and I would never put up with any sort of abuse again; and no one should.”

Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner said: “I would like to commend the courage of this victim in coming forward and speaking out about domestic abuse.

“The most important part of this campaign is to raise awareness of this crime and that victims will be listened to and that there is help available. It is absolutely crucial that victims know that domestic abuse is not their fault and that they do not have to put up with it.”

 Anyone affected by this story can ring the 24 hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247. 

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Life on the meter

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The Great Big Taxi Debate

Taxi drivers face many problems day to day. Whether it being language barriers, dress codes or simply fearing for their lives, it seems it is becoming harder and harder to make an honest living. Many representing, some would say, the front line for the rest of the Asian community.

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