Disabled Foster Kids 'Abused and Locked under the Stairwell' ORDEAL OF CHILDREN PLACED IN CARE; Ill-Treatment of Young People Went on over 20 Years; One Can't Speak but Acted out How She Was Sex Victim; Girl with Injuries Was Treated. Then Sent Back to Home; EXCLUSIVE

Sunday Mirror (London, England), February 15, 2015 | Go to article overview

Disabled Foster Kids 'Abused and Locked under the Stairwell' ORDEAL OF CHILDREN PLACED IN CARE; Ill-Treatment of Young People Went on over 20 Years; One Can't Speak but Acted out How She Was Sex Victim; Girl with Injuries Was Treated. Then Sent Back to Home; EXCLUSIVE


Byline: SARAH BARDON

HEALTH bosses have been accused of failing to fully probe allegations of sexual and physical abuse of up to 40 children at a foster home, the Irish Sunday Mirror can reveal.

Six years after the claims were made to the Health Service Executive and gardai, the details of the sickening torture by a long-term foster family is beginning to emerge.

This newspaper was told how the children, mostly with intellectual disabilities, were emotionally, physically, sexually and financially abused at the hands of their carers.

A source said: "This is the most appalling level of abuse including children being locked underneath the stairwell by the parents.

"One of the children, who is unable to speak, was removed from the home and was able to act out some of the sexual abuse she was subjected to.

"She was told her allegations couldn't be prosecuted because she would not make a good witness because she can't speak."

The horrendous abuse dates back to the 1980s and covers a 20-year period which could involve up to 40 young people with disabilities.

The concerns were initially reported to the HSE in 2009 with an internal report compiled in 2012 but the probe has not seen the light of day.

It is understood Junior Health Minister Kathleen Lynch and Tony O'Brien became aware of the allegations late last year.

INVESTIGATION

A spokesman for Minister Lynch said her focus was now on ensuring the issue is "properly investigated".

He said: "Both Minister Lynch and the department are aware that certain allegations have been made regarding a historical issue of alleged abuse within a foster family.

"They are also aware that both the HSE and An Garda Siochana are carrying out separate investigations into these allegations.

"The primary concern of both Minister Lynch and the department has been to ensure that no person is currently at risk and that the matter is being properly investigated.

"As both investigations are part of an ongoing process it would not be appropriate to make any further comment at this point."

The investigations have been ongoing for a number of years and there have been claims of cover-up by the HSE and the gardai.

The allegations are contained in a letter sent to the Department of Health and the HSE and is signed by two social workers who dealt with some of the victims.

The correspondence, which has been seen by the Irish Sunday Mirror, claims abuse was never addressed despite concerns being raised, and was later covered up by institutions.

"This foster placement also operated as an unregulated respite service for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, where people were placed by the Health Board and [a religious order]. …

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Disabled Foster Kids 'Abused and Locked under the Stairwell' ORDEAL OF CHILDREN PLACED IN CARE; Ill-Treatment of Young People Went on over 20 Years; One Can't Speak but Acted out How She Was Sex Victim; Girl with Injuries Was Treated. Then Sent Back to Home; EXCLUSIVE
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