‘Redress: Breaking the Silence’

 

Sir, – Ed Power highlighted abuse survivors’ risk of prosecution due to breaking a State-imposed silence, in his review of the RTÉ programme Redress: Breaking the Silence (“What is it in the Irish character that compels us to secrecy?”, Culture, March 4th).

Survivors risked breaching the confidentiality clause they were forced to assent to and they did a service to Irish society in doing so.

Children and adults who experience abuse should never be silenced. An unforgettable message of the programme was the lack of a trauma-informed approach to dealing with historic child abuse which has led to the further re-traumatisation of survivors.

Future responses by the State should commit to being trauma informed. By adopting a trauma-informed approach, those tasked with delivering redress would recognise the needs of individuals who have experienced trauma, the signs and symptoms of trauma and how to adequately respond to these needs. An individualised, empathetic and nurturing response, rather than the adversarial and legalistic response which was clearly evident in the programme, is needed.

While the impact of such a childhood abuse is never gone, people can be helped to heal with the appropriate services. The inter-generational effect of the survivors’ childhood trauma was also apparent with the impact not just on survivors but also on their children . Services of support must address these inter-generational adversities.

Systems don’t care, people care, and if people don’t care, systems fail. There are still mechanisms of redress to be implemented with regard to the mother-and-baby homes. We cannot change the past of those who have suffered.

We can provide the support that is needed in the present to provide healing, hope and possibility for the future. – Yours, etc,

SUZANNE CONNOLLY,

Chief Executive,

Barnardos,

Dublin 8.

Sir, – RTÉ’s two-part documentary Redress served the public in a monumental way. One recalled the unfiltered horror from the late and brave Mary Raftery’s States of Fear documentary as we learned with revulsion of the ongoing treatment of these brave and resilient people, 21 years on. Their steely determination was mixed with touching frailty as they continue to strive for full truth and accountability, the cornerstones for abuse survivors.

Their fearless recounting of their treatment in the redress process was matched by the sensitivity of Mick Peelo and his colleagues in the garnering of these powerful narratives. Thank you to all involved for your bravery in providing us with these truths. It was true public-service broadcasting. – Yours, etc,

DEIRDRE MORIARTY,

Kinsealy,

Co Dublin.