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Keoghs Insight

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Patrick Williams

Historical Abuse Compensation Legislation in Northern Ireland

Blogs28/08/2019

Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) Inquiry

In 2017 the Northern Ireland Executive set up an inquiry and investigation into allegations of abuse in children’s residential homes run by religious, charitable and state organisations in Northern Ireland from 1922 to 1995.

The inquiry fulfilled its terms of reference on 30 June 2017 making several recommendations, which included financial compensation to be administered by a redress board. The Executive Office (TEO) was directed to develop draft legislation to establish a redress board (to receive, process and make payments of financial compensation) and a compensation scheme.

Delay

Survivors in Northern Ireland have been campaigning for the compensation scheme legislation since early 2017.  However, the process stalled in January 2017 when the devolved government in Northern Ireland collapsed.

Compensation Scheme

The details of such proposed legislation are as yet unclear.  However, it is believed that tax-free lump sum payments ranging from £10,000 to £100,000 should be made to all survivors, including those relating to homes and institutions not covered by the inquiry.

It has also been agreed by the parties in Northern Ireland that it will be possible to make payments to relatives of deceased victims. However, the families of those who have died will have to satisfy a board overseeing the financial redress or compensation that they have a valid claim.

What next?

Further delays are now being incurred due to the summer recess of government on 25 July.  It is expected that the draft bill will be heard in Westminster during the first two weeks of September when government returns from its summer recess.

It is hoped by many involved that the legislation will be fast-tracked through Parliament and finalised in September. It remains to be seen whether this will be the case and we will have to wait until September to see if there are any further developments.

For more information, please contact Patrick Williams.