The report of the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry in Northern Ireland launched today. A copy of the report was delivered to the Executive Office (formerly the Office of First and Deputy First Minister). The report, which is available online, consists of 10 volumes amounting to 2300 pages.
It deals with issues such as an apology; by whom should an apology be made and the nature of that apology. It also addresses a memorial or tribute to those who suffered abuse, a redress scheme, findings of failings against the State and voluntary providers of residential care homes.
The initial points of interest are the recommendation for a Redress Scheme and criticisms of the involvement of the State in the supervision and inspection of various homes.
The task of trying to put a value on a potential redress scheme is daunting, but is one which is being tackled in Northern Ireland and is likely to be considered in Scotland and England and Wales.
On Monday 17 October representatives of victims and survivors groups in Northern Ireland presented a paper entitled “A Cost Analysis of A Proposed Redress Scheme for Historical Institutional Abuse” in the Long Gallery at Stormont. In the room were survivors and victims, MLAs and members of the media.
Earlier this year the University of Ulster (UUJ) along with Amnesty International (AI) met with representatives of those who had been in residential care in Northern Ireland and their legal representatives to discuss the issue of redress. The issue of redress arose again yesterday when former residents of homes protested outside Stormont demanding interim payments towards redress be made now.
Recent blogs have looked at limitation in Scotland and the wider approach to limitation and redress. Whilst the preferred route in all jurisdictions seems to be for the removal of limitation periods in abuse claims, whether civil claims or redress, it is not always a straightforward process. This can be seen from the history of redress and limitation which occurred in Ireland and which is summarised below. Continue reading
The issue of Redress is an important consideration for any abuse Inquiry. Ireland has had direct experience via the Irish Redress Board and the Royal Commission in Australia has made its recommendations already on this subject. A report published this month by the University of Ulster titled “What survivors want from Redress” considers the views of survivors of institutional care establishments as to their expectations of a Redress Scheme. While this is presented from a former resident perspective only it does present a window into the representations which will be made to the HIAI in Northern Ireland, the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry and the IICSA.