Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry: Survivors speak out

The biggest public inquiry into child abuse ever held in the UK is due to begin its first public hearings in Northern Ireland later. Some of those who suffered physical, sexual, and emotional abuse tell BBC News NI what they hope the inquiry will achieve.

Kate Walmsley - abuse survivor

Kate Walmsley: "I just needed someone to ask me why was I not happy"

"The sexual abuse as a child, to me it became normal, it was going to happen. And I couldn't stop it. And then being an adult now, nobody realises that it hurts me much much more than it hurt me when I was a child.

"I just wish someone had asked me if I was happy. I was classified as a delinquent child and today that still really hurts because I was an abused child. I was a child crying for help. I was a hurt child.

"The word sorry to me doesn't mean anything anymore. In my life I've had that many sorrys that they don't mean anything."

Michael McMoran - abuse survivor

"I was constantly getting beaten by the nuns and if they couldn't do it they got the older boys who left the place to come up and they would fix you.

"It's very important to let people in the outside world know exactly what has been going on behind closed doors and people didn't believe it. They didn't believe nuns or brothers could do these things."

Margaret McGuckin - Survivors and Victims of Institutional Abuse (SAVIA)

"There was no love or care whatsoever in those places. It was constant humiliation or beatings and just being roughly pushed about and bullied. The bullying was carried out by the nuns and then the children took that from the nuns, and that was a way of life. Because they were the example. And then they carried on the bullying and it was a horrible, horrible place.

"We just don't want them to find that there was systemic abuse. We know that already but what else is going to happen? Is there anybody else going to be held accountable? The state are as guilty as the church here, in many ways, maybe more, because the state did not, as far as we're concerned, investigate these matters."

More on This Story

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


  • The OfficeIn pictures

    Fifty landmark shows from 50 years of BBC Two

  • French luxury Tea House, Mariage Freres display of tea pots Tea for tu

    France falls back in love with tea - but don't expect a British cuppa

  • Worcestershire flagFlying the flag

    Preserving the identities of England's counties

  • Female model's bottom in leopard skin trousers as she walks up the catwalkBum deal

    Why budget buttock ops can be bad for your health

  • Two women in  JohanesburgYour pictures

    Readers' photos on the theme of South Africa

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.