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The Commission to Inquire into Child AbuseA woman

The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse

The Statutory Commission has three primary functions:-

Confidential Committee

The Commission will, through a Confidential Committee, provide a forum for victims of abuse to recount their experience on an entirely confidential basis. The purpose of this Committee is to meet the needs of those victims who want to speak of their experiences but who do not wish to become involved in an investigative procedure. This Committee will provide the Commission with a general report on the issues encountered in its work.

Investigation Committee

The Commission will also have an Investigation Committee. This Committee will facilitate victims who wish to both recount their experiences and to have allegations of abuse fully inquired into. This Committee will also report to the Commission.

In addition to being offered a hearing by the Commission and its Committees, counselling by a dedicated counselling service that has been set up by the Department of Health and Children and is provided through the Health Boards is available for victims of abuse.

Additional Functions

The Commission was given the additional functions under the Commission to Inquire Into Child Abuse Act, 2000 (Additional Functions) Order, 2001 (S.I. No. 280 of 2001) to inquire into-

  1. the 3 vaccine trials referred to in the Report of the Chief Medical Officer entitled “Report on Three Clinical Trials Involving Babies and Children in Institutional Settings 1960/1961, 1970 and 1973”, and
  2. any other vaccine trial found by the Commission to have taken place in an institution between 1940 and 1987 based on an allegation by a person who was a child in that institution that he or she was the subject of such a vaccine trial.

Final Report

On completion of its work the Commission will publish a report directly to the general public based on the reports of its Committees. The Report may identify institutions in which abuse occurred and the people responsible and may make findings in regard to management and regulatory authorities. The Commission in the Report will also make recommendations on measures to alleviate the effects of abuse on victims and to prevent future abuse in institutions.

The Commission and its Committees benefit from the kind of powers and protection which a court would have including privilege for witnesses; compellability of witnesses; discovery of documents; taking evidence on oath and offences for failure to co-operate or for obstruction.

View a diagram that explains to a victim of abuse how he or she will be heard through the Commission's work.

Some documents in the website are in PDF format. How to download PDF files