Northern Ireland: Progress on historical child abuse compensation welcomed

Amnesty International UK has welcomed today’s recommendation by the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee that compensation for victims of Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) should progress as quickly as possible through Parliament.

Patrick Corrigan, Northern Ireland programme director of Amnesty International, said:

“We welcome today’s support from the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee for our call that the Government moves swiftly to pass improved Westminster legislation to support redress for abuse victims.

“No redress scheme can ever compensate for the suffering which thousands of children experienced in residential homes across Northern Ireland.

“But compensation is an important component of justice which the UK Government has an obligation to deliver.”

Evidence was given today to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee by Jon McCourt, chairperson of the Survivors North West group, Gerry McCann of Rosetta Trust, Professor Patricia Lundy of Ulster University and Patrick Corrigan.

Historic Institutional Abuse Inquiry

The Historic Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIAI) found widespread and systemic abuse in children’s homes across Northern Ireland.

The HIAI studied allegations of abuse in 22 homes and other residential institutions between 1922 and 1995. These were run by the state, local authorities, the Catholic Church, the Church of Ireland and the children’s charity Barnardo’s. The largest number of complaints related to four Catholic-run homes.

Hundreds of victims and survivors of institutional child abuse were facilitated in responding to the consultation by support groups Survivors North West and Rosetta Trust, working alongside Amnesty International and Ulster University.

Payments to victims were first recommended by the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIAI) in 2017. However, the redress scheme has been delayed for more than two years following the January 2017 collapse of the Northern Ireland Executive.

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