The Northern Ireland Redress Board (“NIRB”) was established on 31 March 2020. It is responsible for receiving and processing applications for compensation from those who experienced abuse in residential institutions in Northern Ireland between 1922 and 1995.
Applications to the NIRB will be considered by paper determination by a three person panel consisting of a judicial member and two non-judicial members from a health and social care background. The judicial member will chair the panel.
Readers of this blog will be aware that the Historical Institutional Abuse (Northern Ireland) Act, 2019 (“the 2019 Act”) was one of the final pieces of legislation to be passed in Westminster before the Government was dissolved on 05/11/2019.
Section 2(2) of the 2019 Act sets out the definition of what constitutes “having suffered abuse” but fell short of describing what physical, sexual, emotional abuse and neglect comprised of.
The NIRB have chosen to publish a document on its website which sets out examples of the types of behaviour that will be considered under all 4 headings.
The NIRB say that these examples of abuse are drawn from the behaviours classified as abuse by the Hart Inquiry which is the Northern Ireland equivalent to IICSA.
The NIRB stress that these examples are only meant as guidance and should not to be considered as being exhaustive of the definition of abuse.
|Physical abuse||Excessive corporal punishment (both formal and informal)
Uncontrolled physical punishment where staff lost their temper
Physical punishment which was tantamount to a serious physical assault
Physical punishment using various implements, including canes, belts, sticks, slippers, curtain rods
Physical abuse and bullying by peers / older children / ‘charge boys’/ ex-residents
Excessive physical chores
Use of excessive / inappropriate force in situations such as restraint / force-feeding
Inappropriate use of drugs to control children
|Sexual abuse||Sexual abuse by male / female staff
Sexual abuse by peers or older children (including charge boys) / ex-residents
Inappropriate touching / fondling (through clothing or otherwise).
Other inappropriate physical contact & behaviour
Oral / anal/ vaginal rape
|Emotional abuse||Name calling by staff (picking on appearances or features)
Denigrating the parents or family of a child
Suggesting that a child had inherited the negative qualities of a parent and would never be of value
Showing a child up in front of the group
Inappropriate treatment of a child in respect of bedwetting / deafness / menstruation
Ignoring / concealing evidence of siblings
Not passing correspondence / presents on to children
Emotional impact of experiencing / witnessing physical or sexual abuse
Other humiliating treatment which served to undermine self-confidence, self-esteem and emotional well-being
Undermining of identity
Denial of parental contact
|Neglect||Inadequate or poor quality food
Inadequate or poor quality clothing
Inadequate bathing / toilet facilities
Lack of heating
Failure to provide access to appropriate education
Poor sex education
Lack of due care and attention in the placement of children
|Maltreatment||Confiscation of personal possessions
Queuing for bathing
Use of Jeyes fluid in bathing;
Poor management of enuresis
There have been a number of interesting developments in respect of the NIRB and how it intends to go about its work since it was formally established on 31/03/2020 and we will be covering these over a number of BLOGS which will be published in the coming days.
Written by James Chambers at BLM