Help / FAQs

Counselling and trauma support


National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC)

NAPAC operates a National Support helpline and also maintains a database of UK-wide support organisations.


Alliance Victim Support

Alliance Victim Support provides support to men and women of 16+ and their families who experienced abuse in institutions during childhood. It provides access to counselling, family tracing and legal services.


The Nexus Institute

Nexus provides specialist counselling for male and female survivors of sexual abuse/violence who are 16+.

If you live outside Belfast, you may be interested in phoning one of the Nexus Institute’s local offices, as follows:

  • County Armagh – 028 3835 0588
  • County Fermanagh – 028 6632 0046
  • County L/Derry – 028 7126 0566
  • County Tyrone – 028 7126 0566


Towards Healing

Towards Healing is a Catholic Church response to clerical/religious abuse. It is supposed to build on the work of Faoiseamh and has been designed to ensure that survivors of clerical and religious abuse receive counselling and other support services in a more holistic manner.


Other contacts

A full catalogue of specialist services for victims of sexual violence and abuse can be accessed at the following nidirect page.


Birth and family records


The General Register Office of Northern Ireland (GRO)

The GRO holds the records of births, deaths, marriages and civil partnerships and adoptions in Northern Ireland.

There is a public search room available for anyone who wishes to trace family members through a search of these records.

Access to adoption records is more restricted. An adopted person may apply for access to their original birth record. GRO also maintains the Adoption Contact Register, whereby an adopted person or a relative of an adopted person may register their interest in tracing family members.


The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI)

PRONI holds some records which may be of help to victims/ survivors. It also has records to help you search your family tree and some leaflets to help you start.

However, in general it does not hold:

  • records of voluntary homes
  • records of institutions run by religious orders – these may still be with the relevant order
  • files of individual children in care – from 1947 these are held by the social services departments of the Northern Ireland Health Trusts

You can find contact details for PRONI at the following nidirect page.


PSNI Referrals

The PSNI have the following specialist units who will investigate all reports of institutional abuse.

Child Abuse Investigation Unit PSNI District Address Phone number
Antrim D
(covers Antrim, Carrickfergus, Lisburn, Newtownabbey)
24 Castle Street
BT41 4JE
028 9448 2633
Coleraine H
(covers Coleraine, Ballymoney, Moyle, Ballymena, Larne)
17 Lodge Road
BT52 1LY
028 7028 0904
Dundonald C
(covers Ards, Castlereagh, North Down, Down)
825-827 Upper Newtownards Road
BT16 1RF
028 9056 1759
Grosvenor Road A
(covers north and west Belfast
105-107 Grosvenor Road
BT12 4GL
028 9070 0604
Maydown G
(covers Foyle, Limavady, Magherafelt, Strabane)
4 Maydown Road
BT47 6SJ
028 7186 1355
Willowfield B
(covers south and east Belfast)
277 Woodstock Road
028 9025 9832
Banbridge E
(covers Armagh, Banbridge, Craigavon, Newry and Mourne)
14 Castlewellan Road
BT32 4AX
0845 600 8000
Omagh F
(covers Cookstown, Dungannon and South Tyrone, Fermanagh and Omagh)
1 Derry Road
BT78 5DR
028 8225 6630


FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Is the group just for people who were in institutions run by the Catholic Church or religious orders?

No. We want justice for survivors of institutional abuse, whether the institution was run by a Church group, a charity or by an agency of the State.


Do you offer counselling or other support?

We are a mutual support and campaign group and are not in a position to offer professional counselling, but we can point you towards others who can provide proper counselling or other support. See our Resources page for more information.


I no longer live in Northern Ireland; can I still help be part of the group?

Yes. We know that many former residents of children’s institutions in Northern Ireland no longer live here and we aim to provide a voice for survivors, wherever they live now. We have members and supporters who now live in all parts of the UK and Ireland and further afield and we want to ensure your voice is heard too.


Do I have to pay?

No. The campaign group has no fee for membership or involvement and we rely on goodwill and volunteer support for our work.


How do I report my abuse to the police?

The PSNI have the specialist units who will investigate all reports of institutional abuse. Contact details are available above, under the PSNI Referrals section.

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