Britain's largest public inquiry into institutional child abuse has been told that children living in residential care homes run by nuns were forced to eat their own vomit and were made to bathe in disinfectants used in clearing drains.
Christine Smith, counsel to the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry in the North, revealed that children living in Sisters of Nazareth properties in Derry were known by numbers rather than names while those who wet their beds were made to put soiled sheets on their heads.
A number of children also underwent humiliation, threats and physical abuse while they were also forced into farm laboring or working in the laundry rather than going to school.
Stating that the problem was not just limited to one order, Smith said, "The congregation is not the only body whose approach has produced problems. We do appreciate that this is not always avoidable but we hoped that such late delivery could have been avoided, given the difficulties which it causes for the inquiry."