Australian Federal Police and Police Service of Northern Ireland join forces to launch appeal

Search for women forced to give up babies and suffered institutional abuse in Northern Ireland expanded to the other side of the world as Australian cops step in to help

  • Investigation into forced adoptions expands to Australia
  • AFP joins forces with Northern Ireland counterparts to find victims
  • Institutions housed pregnant women and girls from 1922 to 1990

Northern Irish police have launched a search for women and children in Australia who may have been affected by institutional abuse between 1922 and 1990.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland launched an investigation in 2021 into allegations of abuse within Mother and Baby Institutions, Work Houses, and Magdalene Laundries in Northern Ireland.

Two years on, Australian Federal Police announced on Sunday it will assisting the investigation in an effort to find victims and witnesses who may now live in Australia.

The Police Service has appealed for mothers who gave birth in, or anyone who was adopted from institutions in Northern Ireland between 1922 and 1990 to come forward.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland has widen its search for women and children affected by institutional abuse between 1922 and 1990 to Australia (stock image of a mother holding her baby)

The Police Service of Northern Ireland has widen its search for women and children affected by institutional abuse between 1922 and 1990 to Australia (stock image of a mother holding her baby)

These institutions housed pregnant women and girls from 1922 to 1990 in Northern Ireland, and many of the new mothers often left feeling coerced into giving up their child.

Thousands of people are said to have lived in, worked in, or visited these institutions during its 68 years of operation.

There have since been 88 reports made to police, with people alleging there are inconsistencies in birth records for those who were adopted from Northern Irish institutions and now live overseas.

Detective Superintendent Gary Reid said investigators believe there could be more victims and witnesses out there, many of whom could have moved or been adopted to countries like Australia.

‘As the investigation continues into the Mother and Baby Institutions, Magdalene Laundries, and Work Houses in Northern Ireland, we are becoming increasingly aware that the people impacted by these institutions do not just reside in Northern Ireland but could now reside all over the world as far as Australia,’ he said.

‘We don’t want anyone to feel they have to suffer in silence anymore and we will continue to do all we can to reach as many people with this message as possible.

‘We would like to reinforce that this investigation is very much ongoing in Northern Ireland.’

Many new mothers who gave borth at Mother and Baby Institutions, Work Houses, and Magdalene Laundries in Northern Ireland were forced to give up their children (stock image)

Many new mothers who gave borth at Mother and Baby Institutions, Work Houses, and Magdalene Laundries in Northern Ireland were forced to give up their children (stock image)

Detective Superintendent Reid urged anyone with relevant information to contact police.

‘If you believe you were the victim of abuse or other forms of criminality in any of these Northern Irish institutions, or know somebody who was, or if you witnessed anything suspicious, please contact us, we want to hear from you.

‘We care about what you have to say, will listen and support you, and will act to keep you and others safe.’

Those wishing to contact the investigation are encouraged to email [email protected]

The Australian Federal Police has joined forces with the Northern Ireland counterparts as part of the worldwide investigation

The Australian Federal Police has joined forces with the Northern Ireland counterparts as part of the worldwide investigation

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