Probe ordered into child abuse
An inquiry will be held into historic institutional child abuse in Northern Ireland, the ministerial Executive has said.
Victims of alleged clerical wrongdoing have campaigned for months for a probe similar to that which unmasked widespread cases in the Irish Republic.
The taskforce includes nine departments headed by the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) and the Department of Health.
It will report by the end of March on meeting the needs of victims. That could include counselling or other services.
It will also hold talks with victims and examine experiences in other jurisdictions.
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said: "I would expect many, many more people who see the opportunity presented to them to come forward and have a crime inflicted against them recorded and be part of a legal process which will in the time ahead hopefully give closure to people who have for many decades felt that they were not worthy or listened to.
"We believe that they are worthy and entitled to be listened to and be treated as first class citizens."
In May last year a report by the Ryan Commission revealed a catalogue of physical, sexual and emotional abuse in the Irish Republic by priests and nuns as well as attempts to cover up the truth and move offenders between parishes.
Northern Ireland victims have met the OFMDFM to seek a similar process to the Ryan Commission.
First Minister Peter Robinson said he does not envisage an inquiry of the scale of Bloody Sunday, adding: "If it is an inquiry that is more investigative which can be done with fewer personnel then it is very much a smaller figure."