UK child abuse inquiry in Australia

UK inquiry visits Australia

The UK's largest ever public inquiry into institutional child abuse is to travel to Australia to interview alleged victims transferred from Northern Ireland, reports AAP on SkyNews.

More than 100 children were removed from Church-run residential homes in Northern Ireland, most to Western Australia after the war. An investigation chaired by retired judge Sir Anthony Hart is examining whether they were physically, sexually or emotionally harmed during their journey.

Lawyers and support staff are expected to pay their second visit to the antipodes next month ahead of public hearings in September, Sir Anthony said.

He added: 'The inquiry will examine the operation of the child migrant scheme in the context of children from Northern Ireland institutions who were sent to Australia.

'Before that module can start, we have to complete our preparatory work for it and a major part of that involves a second team from the inquiry going from Northern Ireland to Australia to speak to those applicants who were not seen during last year's trip.'

The treatment of children, orphaned or taken away from their unmarried mothers, in residential homes run by religious orders of nuns or brothers is a key concern of the investigation being held in Banbridge, Co Down. It is considering cases between 1922, the foundation of Northern Ireland, and 1995.

A panel chaired by Sir Anthony and established by Stormont's power-sharing devolved government has to decide whether children might have been physically or sexually abused or emotionally harmed through humiliation. It may also include simple neglect, not feeding or clothing people properly.

The Nazareth House Children's Home and St Joseph's Home, Termonbacca, were run by the Catholic Sisters of Nazareth nuns in Derry. Those allegedly abused there have been giving evidence since the start of the year. The religious order has already issued a public apology and a senior member is due to give evidence this afternoon.

Sir Anthony said he expected public hearings relating to those institutions to be concluded by early next month.

FULL STORY UK child abuse probe goes to Australia (AAP/Skynews)

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