Report on Mother and Baby Homes in Northern Ireland likely to recommend full public inquiry

In February 2016, the then Northern Ireland Executive agreed to establish an inter-departmental working group to take forward work on Mother and Baby Homes and Magdalene Laundries and Historical Clerical Child Abuse, which fell outside the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry.

The Working Group was tasked with considering the evidence about the operation of Mother and Baby Homes and Magdalene Laundries and make recommendations to the Northern Ireland Executive on what action to take.

Continue reading

MOJ offers Medomsley abuse victims compensation

Hundreds of men who say that they were victims of abuse by staff at Medomsley in County Durham have become eligible for compensation after the Government changed the rules in respect of the proposed compensation scheme.

Medomsley was a youth detention centre in Consett, County Durham, which operated from the late 1960s until 1990.

Continue reading

Northern Ireland Justice Minister to strengthen sexual exploitation of children laws

The Northern Ireland Justice Minister Naomi Long has announced that she intends to strengthen the existing law to provide more comprehensive protection for children from sexual exploitation and to specifically ban the offence of “upskirting”.

Continue reading

Northern Ireland Executive appoints permanent Commissioner for Victims of Institutional Childhood Abuse

In addition to establishing the HIA Redress Board, the Historical Institutional Abuse (Northern Ireland) Act 2019 (the 2019 Act) also somewhat uniquely provided for the establishment of a permanent Commissioner for Survivors of Institutional Childhood Abuse.

Section 22 of the 2019 Act states that the principal aim of the Commissioner “…is to promote the interests of any person who suffered abuse while a child and while resident in an institution at some time between 1922 and 1995.”

Continue reading

Further pressure on NI Interim Commissioner for Victims

Just over a week after the NI Executive opened the process to appoint a full-time commissioner for victims and survivors of institutional abuse the Interim commissioner, Brendan McAllister, has come under further pressure to resign as a result of his role in the Catholic Church.  It was known that he had started the process of becoming a Deacon in the Catholic Church and he recently took part in a service in St Peter’s church in his full clerical garb.

Continue reading

Sensitive data breach puts pressure on NI Interim Commissioner for Victims

Brendan McAllister, the interim Commissioner for Victims appointed in the wake of the report of the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIAI), has indicated he will not be stepping down after a serious breach in data regulations.  He has issued an apology following the breach involving the identification of 250 survivors of historical abuse.

Continue reading

HIAI Bill passes through Parliament before election Purdah

The Historical Institutional Abuse (Northern Ireland) Bill passed through the Commons yesterday before Parliament was dissolved in preparation for the December elections.  This paves the way for the creation of a Redress Panel and the appointment of a Commissioner for Victims of residential Institutional abuse as recommended by Sir Anthony Hart in 2017.

Continue reading

Queen’s speech indicates intention to address HIAI Redress and other recommendations

While the Queen’s speech delivered on Monday 14 October indicated a number of headline grabbing initiatives around the Brexit process and progress, education, security and so on there was a small section of interest to the Victims and Survivors of Institutional abuse.

Continue reading

NI victims meet with new Secretary of State

Following his appointment to the Northern Ireland Office, Julian Smith has had meetings with different victims campaign groups over the ongoing stalemate in Northern Ireland. These meetings seem to have been more upbeat than previous meetings with his predecessor Karen Bradley and the victims groups have expressed confidence in the new Secretary of State.

Victims and survivors had lost confidence in Ms Bradley and had gone as far as to call for her resignation. They remain unhappy that the recommendations of the Historic Institutional Abuse Inquiry have not progressed into any tangible form over 2 ½ years since they were presented to the Executive.

Continue reading

HIAI Redress Delay developments

Hot on the heels of our recent update there have been further developments in the campaign to push for implementation of the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIAI) recommendations.

We have recently reported on the consultation process and the announcement by the Northern Ireland Civil Service that the results of the process had been passed to Secretary of State Karen Brady. More recently various representatives of the former residents of institutions have met with the Secretary of State to press for progress in the absence of the Executive.  They were very angry at what they saw as further delay on the part of the Secretary of State.  On her part the Secretary of State has confirmed that she sees the urgent need for implementation but she has asked the various political parties for comments on 15 questions around the implementation and recommendations.  She also sees the need for the NI politicians to take ownership of the issue and wants it to be part of the discussions to reinstate the Executive.

Continue reading