The Commissioner for Survivors of Institutional Childhood Abuse response to the Police Ombudsman’s findings of Police Failures in Responding to Complaints of Abuse in Kincora Boys’ Home

23 September 2022

The Commissioner's response to the Police Ombudsman’s findings of Police Failures in Responding to Complaints of Abuse in Kincora Boys’ Home:

“The Police Ombudsman has identified that former police officers failed in their duty to children who were sexually abused in Kincora Boys’ Home because the officers did not act on the information provided to them during the 1973-1976 period in her response to complaints made to her office by survivors of Kincora Boys’ Home. The Ombudsman in her investigation further identified systemic failings which prevented police from being aware of complaints of sexual abuse at Kincora Boys’ Home which had been made to the Belfast Welfare Authority and the former Eastern Health and Social Services Board.

“I want to acknowledge first and foremost the survivors of Kincora Boys’ Home and their long journey to have these complaints dealt with. To be subject to abuse and then have to pursue the truth of the circumstances surrounding that abuse is a heavy burden to put on survivors.

“The Police Ombudsman’s findings echo those of the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry which found a catalogue of failings by officials of the Belfast Welfare Authority, of the Eastern Health and Social Services Board and by the RUC. The Inquiry found if earlier allegations had been reported to the RUC or if an effective investigation had been carried out by the RUC in later years that a thorough and competent investigation could have been successful in exposing the abuse in 1976 or earlier. It would have meant victims abused after 1976 and possibly before would have been spared the abuse.

“Anyone reading the findings from the Police Ombudsman cannot help but be struck with awful depressing familiarity in the wake of the reports into child abuse from across the UK where systemic failings facilitated abuse to go on even after initial disclosures and reports had been made.

“Survivors are owed an assurance that historic child abuse, institutional and other, is taken seriously and engaged with appropriately by all relevant authorities. It has taken seven years since complaints were first made to the Police Ombudsman to deliver these findings but nearly five decades since the complaints of sexual abuse in Kincora were first made. Survivors have the right to justice and accountability. Accountability includes transparency on how our justice system has dealt with historic child abuse perpetrated within institutions; this includes investigation, recording and analysis and prosecution.”

See the Police Ombudsman statement here.