Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin has called on the Assembly to hold an inquiry into the sexual exploitation and abuse of children and young people in care homes and elsewhere.
Ms McLaughlin, the chair of the Stormont health committee, tabled a motion to the Assembly calling for the health minister to liaise with the justice minister to launch an immediate probe.
“It is a serious indictment on our society when children are placed in care homes to keep them from harms way when in fact some are being placed in even greater risk.
“This has happened under the guidance of the Department of Health. In 2011 Barnardo’s published a report, commissioned by the Health Department, that made several recommendations concerning the welfare of children in care homes.
“Indeed five of the six recommendations fell under the remit of the Health Department and yet none of these have been implemented,” she said.
Ms McLaughlin said urgent action is needed to protect children. “It is plain to see that current procedures for protecting children here are obviously not working.
“What needs to come from any inquiry is that procedures and safe guards are put in place so that children and young people are not put in this type of risk again,” she said.