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Former Magdalene Laundry survivors at a rally in Dublin in 2018 (Global Sisters Report/Gabrielle O’Gorman)

Australian Federal Police are searching for women and children who may have been affected by the practice of forced adoption in Northern Ireland. Source:

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. Many of these facilities were operated by the Church.

On Sunday, the Australian Federal Police announced it will assist in an effort to find victims and witnesses who may now live in Australia.

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

These institutions housed pregnant women and girls 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.

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

Detective Superintendent Reid urged anyone with relevant information to email police at [email protected].


Northern Ireland’s forced adoption investigation lands on Australian shores (By Aisling Brennan,