• The Irish Women Survivors Support Network (IWSSN)

    supports, advises and campaigns for survivors of the Irish institutional care system who live across the UK and attended institutions between the 1930s to 1990s.

    Read About Irish Survivors

About Irish Survivors

Importantly, women and men who experienced the care system run by religious orders are referred to as ‘Survivors’. After all, whilst these individuals may have been victims of neglect, abuse and assault, they survived it, and deserve to be recognised for their resilience rather than what happened to them.

What We Do

The Irish Women Survivors Support Network (IWSSN) supports, advises and campaigns for Survivors of the Irish institutional care system who live across the UK and attended institutions between the 1930s to 1990s.

Support Us

At IWSSN, we wouldn’t be able to offer such a broad and extensive range of services to Survivors living in the UK without the kind and generous support of volunteers, the Women’s Group, funders, like-minded organisations and politicians.

Mother-and-Baby Homes Investigation

Were you resident in a Mother-and-Baby Home in Ireland (either as a mother or a child)? Or do you know someone who was? 

Currently there’s an Investigation looking into these homes and anyone with any information is invited to share it in confidence. The Commission are keen to hear from anyone who was resident in, worked in or had connections with a Mother-and-Baby Home in Ireland. If you have information you’d like to share, you can either travel to Dublin where all of your travel and accommodation expenses will be covered, or  you can speak to the Confidential Committee in early 2016 when they will be taking evidence in the UK.  As with previous enquiries, we are supporting Survivors with giving evidence.

If would like to find out more, please contact us on: 0207 267 9997

OR contact the Commission directly, by calling: 00 353 1 6445088.

If you are affected by this issue and wish to speak to someone in confidence, we can make referrals to a free counselling service that we work in partnership with.

Click here to find out more about the investigation.

IWSSN believes Survivors deserve committed support to enable their recovery and make progress in their lives. Through providing both practical support and advocacy, we can have a transformative effect on:

•  Severe poverty and inequality
Ensuring all Survivors have financial security is fundamental to securing a hopeful future. Through offering one-to-one advice, we can help Survivors access benefits and financial support they might be eligible for. Campaigning on behalf of the survivor community, we fight for redress and against structural inequality.

•  Poor mental and physical health
Healing painful mental scars and taking proactive steps to improve health, will in-turn improve quality of life. By running health and well-being classes for survivors, giving specialist advice and making referrals for further support, we enable Survivors to build confidence and ensure they obtain help they are entitled to.

•  Isolation and a feeling of disempowerment
Social networks and caring people who comprise them, can lend a helping hand when it’s needed and prevent vulnerable people from falling through the cracks. We empower Survivors and build community in the process by bringing survivors together to lead the direction of our work, running practical classes in a welcoming environment, and support with family tracing.

Background to the Women’s Group

The Irish Women Survivors Support Network (IWSSN) was established in 2001, following a call from female Survivors of Irish institutional care (including the Magdalene Laundry women). These women felt that they wanted a space and opportunities – as women who shared so much in common – to come together, to share their experiences and information, and find friendship with other women who would have instantly understood their childhood and subsequent life experiences.

The ‘Women’s Group’ was founded by Sally Mulready and Phyllis Morgan and had its first meeting in 2001. The Women’s Group provided a very positive moving on space for the women to make progress together, and the evidence of this can be seen today – the Women’s Group is thriving and has over 500 female members. We aim to hold 2-3 meetings a year, where women travel from all parts of the UK to be together. These days, the women meet for pleasure and as friends who have bonded together over the past decade.

  • Development of the Women’s Group, structures and staff

    Between 2001 and 2013, much of the work of the group was of a voluntary nature and operated alongside an advice service located at the London Irish Centre. This service was opened to men and women Survivors who could receive advice, information and support on any issue of concern to them. We know that just under 5,000 Survivors living in the UK were assisted in making applications to the Redress Board (Residential Institutions Compensation Scheme).

  • Whispering Hope Centre - Advice service for Survivors of Irish institutional care

    Magdalene Laundry Women
    Between 2001 and 2014, a sustained and often challenging campaign for justice for Magdalene Laundry women took place both in the UK and Ireland.

    State Apology
    In February 2013, the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD, in his speech to the Dail made a historic and most moving State apology to the Magdalene Laundry women.

  • Health and Well-being

© Copyright - IWSSN - The Irish Women Survivors Support Network (UK)
Irish Women Survivors Support Network (UK) Limited, registered in England and Wales as a company limited by guarantee with company registration number 0860819.
Registered office: the Whispering Hope Centre, 293-299 Kentish Town Road, London NW5 2TJ - Charity Registration Number 1164659