Child abuse survivors demand redress from N. Ireland Executive

© Reuters
Survivors of historic child abuse at residential institutions have launched a report urging Stormont to provide redress for the physical, sexual and emotional abuse they suffered in children’s homes across Northern Ireland.

Victims gathered outside the parliament buildings on Tuesday to launch the report, which calls on the Executive for reparations, counseling services, and a full apology for the abuse. 

One survivor Jon McCourt said: “For many survivors, the effects of the abuse have been long-lasting and harm has been passed down the generations.

“We not only expect a full apology for what was done to us, but also an acknowledgment that government has a responsibility to right those wrongs.”

The report, authored by Patricia Lundy of Ulster University on behalf of the Expert Panel on Redress, was based on a series of discussions with 75 abuse survivors.

Lundy explained: “The focus of this report is what survivors of historical residential institutional abuse want from redress and the legal obligations that underpin such demands.

“The overall aim of this initiative is to ensure that an effective redress scheme is initiated without delay and that survivors play a central role in shaping such a scheme.

“We expect that survivors’ voices will be heard by ministers and we are here at Stormont to ensure that they are.”

The report recommends that a basic payment be awarded to all former residents of children’s homes regardless of whether those homes are part of the ongoing investigation by Sir Antony Hart’s Historical and Institutional Abuse Inquiry.

The probe, which is examining allegations of abuse and neglect in 20 children’s homes in Northern Ireland, is expected to be completed by mid-summer and its findings will be submitted to the Executive at the start of next year.