A campaigner for victims of institutional abuse has resigned in disgust after some victims were offered as little as £10,000 in compensation.
Martin Adams, from Survivors Together, says many victims of historical abuse have lost all faith in the redress board that was part of the late Sir Anthony Hart’s Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) inquiry recommendations.
The HIA studied allegations of abuse in 22 homes and other residential institutions between 1922 and 1995.
There were 76 homes that operated during that time and abuse victims from all of them would be eligible to apply for compensation.
The facilities were run by the state, local authorities, the Catholic Church, the Church of Ireland and the children’s charity Barnardo’s.
The inquiry recommended compensation payouts of £7,500 to £100,000 for victims of abuse in state-run children’s homes in Northern Ireland.
The scheme became operational at the end of last March when a redress board was established as part of recommendations made in the inquiry.
Almost 600 applications were received in the first five months after the scheme opened.
Victims at institutions where the inquiry deemed that a certain level of abuse was widespread will receive an initial £10,000 acknowledgement payment.
Members of the redress board will then determine what additional compensation victims are entitled to depending on the severity of the abuse each suffered individually.
But Mr Adams, who suffered abuse in Rathgael Training School in Bangor, has said many vulnerable victims have been offered the lowest band of payments of £10,000.
“Being so vulnerable and mentally unwell, they take the offer because it could take up to a year for an appeal,” he said.
Mr Adams said many victims feel they are “on trial to prove their innocence”, which is not what they signed up to.
“Many victims of historical abuse have lost all faith in the redress board that was part of Sir Anthony Hart’s recommendations to deliver a redress board that would bring some closure to victims,” he said.
“Instead victims feel they are on trial by a redress board, victims’ medical reports have been scrutinised and have been reviewed by outside agencies.
“Many victims believed the redress board would be a more private way of finally telling the full extent of their abuse.”
Mr Adams says he has tendered his resignation as chairman of Survivors Together, saying he can no longer stand by and watch victims being treated in this way.
The Executive Office, which is responsible for implementing the scheme, did not respond to a request for comment yesterday.