Belfast Telegraph

Victims' anger at legal offers

Victims of sex abuse in Northern Ireland have been left traumatised after they were contacted by lawyers seeking to represent them as a major inquiry gets under way, it has been claimed.

Last month the executive announced the scope of an inquiry into allegations of abuse in children's homes and care institutions as far back as 1945.

Victims' spokeswoman Margaret McGuckin said one sufferer was hospitalised after the legal offers upset him. In another case the victim has been face to face with a lawyer and had to leave the area where they were living to escape the unwanted attention.

She described the condition of the ill man.

"He is a broken wreck, for such a lovely gent of a man. That man has ill-health anyway, which he tries to hide," she said.

"These people are getting highly paid and this is what keeps them in jobs. They do not need to push it down our throats, it is making us feel inadequate."

She added: "We are only simple people, we are not battle-hardened campaigners. We want to take the way that is less traumatising for our people."

The Law Society said it had not been contacted by the ministers or victims.

DUP OFMDFM junior minister Jonathan Bell and his Sinn Fein colleague Martina Anderson said solicitors' companies and lobbying groups were responsible for approaching victims and should stop immediately.

The DUP minister said that in some cases face-to-face contact had continued despite victims telling those approaching them to stop.

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