Belfast Telegraph

Reparations call for abuse victims

Victims of historical institutional child abuse in Northern Ireland should receive reparations, a minister in the powersharing administration said.

A public inquiry has received harrowing testimony from those who lived in residential homes run by Catholic religious orders.

A panel headed by a retired judge is holding an extensive probe into claims of sexual, physical and emotional abuse against young children made by hundreds of former residents who have contacted the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) inquiry.

Stormont junior minister Jennifer McCann said: "I would certainly like to see some sort of reparations made in terms of those people that have went through the inquiry."

Memorials, compensation and measures to prevent a repeat of abuse have been discussed by witnesses to the inquiry chaired by Sir Anthony Hart.

The probe was established by Northern Ireland's government and is sitting in Banbridge in Co Down.

The inquiry has already heard from former residents at homes in Derry run by the Sisters of Nazareth order of nuns and those transported to Australia under a child migration scheme.

Treatment of boys at Rubane House in Kircubbin, Co Down by members of the De La Salle religious order of brothers is being examined at present and evidence is due to end later this month.

Some victims have claimed they have not received enough support after giving evidence, with one woman claiming she was left suicidal following the ordeal.

Ms McCann, a Sinn Fein minister at the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) with responsibility for victims, acknowledged that at times victims felt the support was inadequate.

"I have taken on board issues that they have raised in relation to how things can be improved. I will do everything in my power to make sure that support services are delivering for victims and that goes across the board, whatever type of support services that they need."

Orphans and children whose parents were unable to care for them were admitted to church-run homes from the foundation of Northern Ireland in 1922 until 1995.

Former residents have claimed they were raped, physically assaulted and denied presents or other signs of affection.

Workers in the home have denied some of the allegations while orders have made admissions in other cases and apologised.

Sir Anthony is seeking extra time to conclude his work.

His inquiry is investigating what took place at 13 residential children's homes run by religious orders, voluntary organisations and the state in the 73-year period up to 1995.

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