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Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Child sex abuse at two N Ireland childrens psychiatric hospitals

Concern at Lissue, Forster Green abuse report 'secrecy'

The Irish News broke the story about the abuse inquiry on Wednesday Stormont health committee chair Michelle Gildernew has raised concerns about the "secrecy" around a report into abuse at two children's hospitals.

The 2009 review, which was never published, detailed abuse at Lissue hospital in Lisburn and Forster Green in Belfast in the 1980s and 90s.

Three allegations were made against members of staff over claims that girls aged between eight and 13 were abused.

The Irish News broke the story after obtaining a copy of the report.


It was compiled by independent health consultant Bob Stinson and completed in January 2009.

It said that two of the allegations of abuse were referred to police but a third was not because it was made some years after the alleged incident took place and, in the view of the report's author, was not corroborated.

The report also detailed concerns about children being asked to undress in front of staff.

In 14 cases, children were alleged to have sexually abused other children while staff also allegedly used humiliation to discipline children.

The 11 such cases of humiliation in the report were described by Mr Stinson as "one of the most disturbing elements of the review."

The review was instigated by the Belfast Trust and the Eastern Health Board after one former patient made a complaint to police.

After a meeting of the health committee on Wednesday afternoon, Michelle Gildernew said the report had "raised more questions than answers".


Michelle Gildernew has said she will be seeking a meeting with health officials "I think we will certainly want to speak to senior officials within the department (of health) to see why there was such secrecy about this report.

"I think in the current climate of transparency and accountability, the secrecy around this is very disturbing.

"It will be interesting to see just at what level of the department decisions were taken to keep this so quiet.

"If it was done in the best interests of children, that's one thing. If it was done in the interests of staff, that's another thing entirely

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