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Victims still suffering as politicians fail to act on report's findings over NI institutional child abuse

 

We write as victims and survivors of institutional child abuse, which we suffered in children's homes across Northern Ireland over many decades.

Today marks six months since the publication of the report of the Historic Institutional Abuse inquiry.

We welcomed its main findings - that the state was responsible for widespread and systemic failings, which left us as vulnerable children to suffer physical, sexual and mental abuse in supposed 'care' homes.

But six months in, and with no devolved government ministers in position to act on the report, its recommendations for apologies, a redress scheme and support services for victims, have gathered dust on Stormont's shelves.

In that time, the health of many of us and our friends in the victim and survivor groups has deteriorated. Some have sadly passed away, still denied justice to their death beds.

We can wait no longer for action. We are the collateral damage of political failure. Betrayed by government when we were children. Betrayed again in our final years.

We welcome the recent intervention of Sir Anthony Hart, the former chair of the inquiry, calling on politicians to act on his report recommendations.

To that, we would add that we demand that government sits down with victims and survivors to agree how those recommendations are implemented and improved upon.

We agree with Sir Anthony that if an Executive is not formed, the local parties should "publicly call upon the Secretary of State" to take action.

Further, the UK Government must live up to its responsibilities in helping to finance the redress scheme.

The pain suffered by victims and survivors in retelling their experiences for the inquiry cannot now be met by silence and inaction.

GERRY MCCANN, JON MCCOURT, MARGARET MCGUCKIN and 257 OTHERS

(full list of signatories at www.belfast telegraph.co.uk/opinion/letters)

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