The Northern Ireland Executive set up an inquiry and investigation into historical institutional abuse. The inquiry covered abuse of children under 18 who lived in children’s homes, borstals, training schools, juvenile justice centres, hospitals and orphanages between 1922 and 1995 in Northern Ireland. The investigation reviewed 22 institutions but noted there were further organisations identified. The report was published on 20 January 2017. The Inquiry found that abuse was ‘widespread’ within various institutions.

Redress Board and compensation scheme

The Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) Redress Board in Northern Ireland has been set up to receive and process applications for compensation and to make awards of compensation to those who have been abused within the HIA Inquiry Terms of Reference. 

The compensation scheme run by HIA Redress Board in Northern Ireland is open. 

You may be eligible to apply for compensation if you:

  • were resident in an institution (eg children’s home, borstal or training school)  in Northern Ireland between 1922 and 1995 (both dates inclusive); and
  • suffered or witnessed abuse, or were subject to a harsh environment.

You may also be eligible to apply if you were sent to Australia from Northern Ireland under the Child Migrant Programme.

You can also apply on behalf of someone who died on or after 28 April 1953 if you are the deceased person’s surviving:

  • spouse
  • civil partner
  • cohabiting partner
  • child

We encourage anyone who wishes to discuss the scheme or has concerns about sexual abuse to contact the abuse team using the contact buttons on this page. We can advise and assist you with an application to the Northern Ireland Redress Scheme at no cost to you.

Key contact

Alan Collins is one of the best known solicitors in the field of child abuse litigation and has acted in many high profile cases, including the Jimmy Savile and Haut de la Garenne abuse scandals. Internationally, Alan works in Australia, South East Asia, Uganda, Kenya, and California representing clients in high profile sexual abuse cases. Alan also spoke at the Third Regional Workshop on Justice for Children in East Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok hosted by Unicef and HCCH (Hague Conference on Private International Law).

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Your questions answered

Which institutions have been named in the report?

 

An institution was deemed any body, society or organisation with responsibility for the care, health or welfare of children in Northern Ireland, other than a school which, during the relevant period, provided residential accommodation and took decisions about and made provision for the day to day care of children. This included organisations run by the state, churches and charities such as children’s homes, training schools, juvenile justice centres (borstals), and orphanages.

Some of the institutions named include:-

Local Authority Homes

  • Lissue Hospital, Lisburn
  • Kincora Boys’ Home, Belfast
  • Bawnmore Children’s Home, Newtownabbey
  • Fort James and Harberton House, Londonderry

Juvenile Justice Institutions

  • St Patrick’s Training School, Belfast
  • Lisnevin Training School, County Down
  • Rathgael Training School, Bangor
  • Hydebank Young Offenders’ Centre
  • Millisle Borstal

Secular Voluntary Homes

  • Barnardo’s Sharonmore Project, Newtownabbey
  • Barnardo’s Macedon, Newtownabbey

Roman Catholic Voluntary Homes

  • St Joseph’s Home, Termonbacca, Londonderry
  • Nazareth House Children’s Home, Londonderry
  • Nazareth House Children’s Home, Belfast
  • Nazareth Lodge Children’s Home, Belfast
  • De La Salle Boys’ Home, Rubane House, Kircubbin
  • St Joseph’s Training School for Girls, Middletown, Co Armagh
  • Institutions run by Good Shepherd Sisters in Derry/Londonderry, Belfast and Newry

Church of Ireland

  • Manor House, a children’s home near Lisburn (added November 2015)

What can the scheme offer in terms of compensation and support?

 

The compensation award payment starts at £10,000 if the applicant was a resident in one of the institutions. The Redress Board will confirm that the applicant was a resident by obtaining evidence from the Public Records Office Northern Ireland (PRONI) on their behalf.

An enhanced award payment of between £10,001 and £80,000 will be made based on the applicant’s statement provided, including the nature and extent of the abuse that the person was subjected to and the ongoing impact to the applicant’s life.

A further amount of £20,000 will be awarded if the application is made by or in respect of a person who was sent to under the Child Migrant Programme if the applicant has not already been awarded compensation under the Government scheme established in the wake of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA).

If an applicant provided evidence to the Hart Inquiry they are not required to provide any further evidence in the form of a witness statement, however, applicants who provided evidence to the Hart Inquiry can update their statement if they wish to do so.

The scheme will also provide assistance to people with queries about:

  • benefits and housing;
  • debt and personal finance;
  • education and further education, jobs and training;
  • searching for personal records;
  • help to report abuse incidents to the Police Service of Northern Ireland;

What is the application process?

 

Applications will be submitted in paper and will be considered 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.

An offer of settlement would, in theory, be made within 21 days. If the applicant does not want to accept the award amount, they have the right to appeal the determination. A single judicial member will determine the appeal. The judicial member can uphold the original decision, reverse the decision, or increase or reduce the award of the panel. A decision on the appeal is final.

How can our team help with your application?

 

There will be no legal costs to you should you choose to use a solicitor to help with your application. The benefits of instructing a solicitor from our specialist abuse team is that we will talk with you to get all of the details of your experience. All of that evidence will be drafted for your application, including all the relevant information to support the highest valuation of your claim. The scheme states payment of between £10,001 and £80,000 will be made based on the applicant’s statement, including the nature and extent of the abuse that the person was subjected to and the ongoing impact to the applicant’s life – therefore the statement is essential for the value of compensation.

We will also assist in submitting and progressing the claim which includes chasing for progress, and value your claim against the criteria to confirm if a fair settlement is offered. We will assist with the appeal if we do not agree the offer of settlement does not take all relevant evidence into account.

We have successfully assisted many survivors with redress scheme applications.

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