Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Hundreds approach Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry

Peter Robinson: we would encourage anyone who has not yet come forward to do so
Peter Robinson: we would encourage anyone who has not yet come forward to do so

Almost 400 people have now contacted a State inquiry set up to examine historical institutional abuse in Northern Ireland, it has been revealed.

The Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry is investigating abuse in care homes between 1922 and 1995.

The first public hearings will take place in the new year.

Yesterday it emerged 397 people have contacted the inquiry, 223 of whom have been before an acknowledgement forum, where victims recount their experiences of abuse.

The figures were released by the Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister four days before the deadline for witnesses to come forward closes.

Of the 397 applications, 255 are from people living in Northern Ireland. Another 60 are from Australia, 52 are from Britain and 20 are from the Republic.

The inquiry will be chaired by retired judge Sir Anthony Hart.

Responding to an Assembly question from DUP MLA Jonathan Craig, Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness said: "The chairperson has said that the closing date for people to come forward to give sworn evidence to the inquiry is November 29 and we would encourage anyone who has not yet come forward to do so."

The inquiry was set up by the Executive to investigate institutions run by the State and church or owned by the private sector or voluntary bodies over a 73-year period.

In September it emerged that 35 locations will be investigated.

Fifteen of these were run by local authorities.

Most were children's homes and one is a former workhouse believed to have closed shortly after World War Two.

Four of the institutions were Government-run borstals and training schools, while another three were run by voluntary organisations associated with a Protestant denomination or a voluntary secular organisation.

Thirteen locations were voluntary institutions provided and run by Catholic religious orders.

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