Northern Ireland

Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry: Man became prostitute after suffering sexual abuse

The inquiry's public hearings are taking place at Banbridge courthouse
Image caption The inquiry's public hearings are taking place at Banbridge courthouse

A retired company director has told the Historical Institutional abuse Inquiry that he became a teenage prostitute in Australia after suffering abuse at a Church of Ireland children's home.

He was among a group of boys shipped out of Northern Ireland as part of a child migrant scheme in the mid 1900s.

The man, now in his 70s, said the abuse began while he was at the Manor House home in Lisburn, County Antrim.

He said it continued at a Presbyterian Church children's home in Australia.

Speaking from Australia, via a video link, he told the inquiry that he was "sexually abused, beaten, and treated as a retard" in the Protestant-run homes.

Concluding his evidence, he said a monument should be erected in the centre of Belfast "so that people start believing what happened to us".

"It not only happened to me, it happened to hundreds and hundreds of children," he said.

Another former resident of Manor House has also been giving evidence to the inquiry.

He said he was tied to a rope that was attached to a brick and then tied to his bed at night so that he would not run away.

In a statement read to the inquiry, the Irish Church Mission said it disputed the claims made.

The men are among about 50 witnesses giving evidence from Australia.

The HIA inquiry is examining the extent of child abuse in religious and state-run institutions in Northern Ireland from 1922 to 1995.

On Monday, the inquiry heard that 131 children from Northern Ireland, some as young as five, were sent to Australia as child migrants.

Their evidence is due to be heard either by video link or in written statements over the next few weeks.

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