Abuse inquiry deadline approaching

Abuse inquiry deadline approaching

SURVIVORS of institutional abuse in the North of Ireland who wish to make representations to the Historic Institutional Abuse inquiry must do so by the end of the month.

On April 30 the inquiry, which has been taking evidence in private sessions from former residents of children's homes, schools and other institutions since 2012, will close to new applicants.

Anyone who suffered childhood abuse or neglect in children's residential institutions in the North between 1922 and 1995 have been asked to share their experience with the inquiry's Acknowledgement Panel.

Their evidence will inform a report into suggested failings by the state in its duty of care to children over the period — similar to the Ryan Report in the Republic.

The inquiry is examining the allegations of child abuse in state institutions in order to determine if victims should receive an apology and compensation.

Established as a result of a campaign for justice — which gathered momentum in 2009 following the Ryan Report — the inquiry has received 490 applications to date and  heard the cases of 308 people.

Anyone yet to make a representation must do so before 5pm on April 30, inquiry Chairman Sir Anthony Hart has announced.

He said: “The 30th April, 2014 has been chosen as the latest possible date that will allow the Forum to see everyone who wishes to speak to it, and at the same time allow it enough time to prepare its report.”

The Forum sits on a regular basis in Belfast and in Derry, and elsewhere as necessary, to hold private meetings with applicants to talk of their experiences while in residential childcare.

The HIA inquiry is due to complete its hearings by June 2015 and deliver its final report to the Northern Ireland Executive in January 2016.

Applications can be requested from the Inquiry Freephone helpline 0800 068 4935 or downloaded from www.hiainquiry.org and returned to [email protected].