Centre de recherche interuniversitaire sur la formation et la profession enseignante (CRIFPE)

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Walshe, B. & O'Connell, C. (2019). Consultations with Survivors of Institutional Abuse on Themes and Issues to be addressed by a Survivor Led Consultation Group. Dublin, Eire : Department of Education and Skills.


In February 2019, the Department of Education initiated a scoping study on a consultation process with survivors of institutional abuse. Themes and issues important to survivors were the focus of this study. Despite initial scepticism regarding the purpose of this scoping exercise, survivors and their advocates were very clear on what is needed and wanted both in Ireland and the UK for all survivors of religious institutions, both those that benefited through the Redress system and Caranua and those that did not. The study found that survivors do not want ‘consultations for consultations sake’. They are asking for urgent action on the known needs outlined in previous reports (see Appendix A) and highlighted in their meetings with us. These include; health, housing, social supports and enough income to live on in dignity. Both Ireland and UK survivors and advocates also stressed the need for clear pathways to access medical, housing, financial and others supports and again highlighted the need for designated liaison personnel who have had training in survivor specific circumstances. In addition, they need support in dealing with the legacy of their past including the need for ongoing and culturally appropriate counselling, support groups, expertise and interest in accessing hard to reach groups and financial support for the educational needs of a further generation affected by their time in institutions. Many survivors described their experiences of the Redress process as adversarial, difficult, traumatic and negative while Caranua was described as bureaucratic and unnecessarily unwieldy. They welcomed the opportunity to engage in this process, which they described as ‘different’. Survivors in the UK described previous supports as ‘overly Ireland centred’. While many of the issues are similar, policy contexts in both jurisdictions are different. Both survivors in the United Kingdom and Ireland believe that therefore, there should be separate sub-groups in the newly formed steering group enabling them to concentrate on country specific issues. Survivors expressed that although they had suffered greatly as a result of being in institutions throughout their young and adult lives, they are also resilient, courageous and forward thinking. Being front and centre in stating their needs and in the design of policy which will affect their lives and those of their families into the future is very important to them. Therefore, they welcome a survivor led consultation process focusing on the urgent changing needs of survivors. A survivor led consultation group has been formed. This is comprised of two sub groups, one UK based and one Ireland based. The group will work with government on meeting needs of survivors over the next year.


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Université de Montréal
Faculté des Sciences de l'Éducation
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Université de Montréal
Faculté des Sciences de l'Éducation
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