Belfast Telegraph

Stop dithering and give child abuse victims proper redress, expert urges MLAs

The former Kincora boys’ home on the Upper Newtownards Road in east Belfast
The former Kincora boys’ home on the Upper Newtownards Road in east Belfast

By Liam Clarke

Stormont must start planning a "redress scheme" for victims of child sex abuse - including those preyed on by paedophile priests such as Fr Brendan Smyth and others assaulted in Kincora Boys' Home, an international expert has warned.

In Australia and Canada, ex-gratia payments are being made to survivors of child abuse who are now adults.

In Canada it is £28,500 and in Australia it is an average of £14,400.

Criminology professor Dr Kathleen Daly said it was high time politicians started talking seriously about a redress scheme.

"These are considerable sums and victims and survivors are getting older - so we need to start talking now," she said.

"They need to move forward on it. It seems to me that there is a lack of political will to really step up to the plate at this time."

Dr Daly believes Northern Ireland can learn from the ongoing Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. This is the most ambitious abuse inquiry ever held, perhaps the most ambitious public inquiry of any kind.

It is looking at an estimated 65,000 individuals who may be eligible for redress ­- cash compensation and lifelong counselling.

Of these, 7,000 are child migrants from the UK, including Northern Ireland, who were sent to Australia by the authorities.

Unlike our own institutional abuse inquiry in Banbridge, the Australian Commission examines abuse outside institutions. This could be relevant here because Kincora residents have claimed they were sent to meet men to be abused in their homes or hotels.

Professor Kathleen Daly has slammed ‘a lack of political will’ at Stormont
Professor Kathleen Daly has slammed ‘a lack of political will’ at Stormont

Dr Daly came to Northern Ireland at the request of Prof Patricia Lundy, a sociologist at the Ulster University. She has also met victims and survivors' groups, as well as the members of the Hart Inquiry into institutional abuse in Northern Ireland.

Her criticism of our politicians will sting MLAs, who have been vocal in support of abuse victims. Dr Daly intends to return to Northern Ireland to assist SAVIA and other survivors' organisations.

"I am calling attention to what needs to be done to create an effective redress scheme," she said. "As a first step I am calling for a wide-ranging, robust discussion of what is desirable, feasible and practical, as well as right and just."

In the Republic, two systems of cash payment were used.

Dr Daly said that women, generally single parents, who worked for nuns in Magdalen laundries were compensated "based more on the years in an institution, the amount of work which the young women did and a kind of top-up on a pension with ongoing social support and health benefits".

The other was a simple cash payment.

In Australia, where Churches are involved, they pay 55% and the State steps in with 45%.

Northern Ireland's historical abuse inquiry goes back to the foundation of the State in 1922, and for most of that time there was a Government at Stormont running things.

However, most of the Kincora abuse took place during direct rule, so Westminster might be considered responsible, especially in light of claims that the problem was covered up or even exploited by MI5.


Dr Kathleen Daly is professor of criminology at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia. Originally from the United States, Dr Daly used to teach at Yale University. She has been in Australia since 1995 and is author of Redressing Institutional Abuse of Children, a highly respected study.

Further reading

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Inquiry lacks the power to uncover the truth about Kincora, court told

Kincora: calls for abuse to be included in UK inquiry

Kincora: Calls to add child abuse at Belfast boys home to Westminster VIP paedophile probe

Kincora: Intelligence officer Brian Gemmell sorry for failing to pursue Richard Kerr's case

Richard Kerr: I was trafficked from Kincora boys home to be abused by a ring of VIPs in London

Kincora: Without protection, Richard Kerr is afraid to tell all

Bishop names Enoch Powell in paedophile ring, satanic worship scandal

Royal family member was investigated as part of paedophile ring before cover-up, ex-cop says

Kincora: Theresa May accused over sex abuse probe 'snub'

Theresa May: Child abuse runs through British society like 'a stick of Blackpool rock' 

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Anonymous promise 'Nightmare on Elite Street' for public figures accused of child sex abuse cover-up

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Margaret Thatcher stopped officials publicly naming Sir Peter Hayman as suspected paedophile

Kincora: Theresa May accused over sex abuse probe 'snub'

Child sex abuse victims must not be collateral damage 

Kincora: Only a full inquiry will do 

Kincora victim Richard Kerr in explosive new claims as he returns to horror house 30 years on 

'I'm haunted by survivor's guilt... it helps to have my story heard' 

Kincora children trafficked throughout UK, claims former resident Richard Kerr 

Kincora: Justice Goddard's inquiry offers the only viable option for justice, Naomi Long 

Calls grow for probe to cover Kincora 

I will reveal the secrets, says ex-Army officer Colin Wallace

Kincora: MI5 knew about it but did nothing, that much is certain 

Full story of Kincora Boys' Home in east Belfast yet to be told, says child sex abuse victim

Kincora: Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt joins calls for inquiry into abuse at boys' home

Baroness's brother 'tried to limit probe into Kincora'

Kincora: MI5 'must hand over files on abuse at east Belfast boys' home' 

Editor's viewpoint: We must know truth of Kincora

Child abuse inquiry must look at Kincora Boys' Home, says Amnesty International

MI5 'blocked exposure of Kincora sex abuse scandal'

Kincora Boy's Home scandal: South African intelligence 'secretly backed loyalist paramilitary group Tara'

Kincora Boys' Home scandal: journalist Peter McKenna dies

State papers: The perjury that allowed Kincora suspect preacher to walk

Westminster’s dark secret: abuse of children, adultery, homosexuality and sadomasochism were all seemingly lumped together

Civil servant Mark Sedwill admits Home Office ‘probably’ destroyed paedophile dossiers 

Westminster child abuse dossier: Geoffrey Dickens also gave copy of file to top prosecutor Sir Thomas Hetherington - so why did DPP fail to act on evidence of paedophile ring? 

Historic child abuse files missing

Tory peer Lord Brittan defends handling of 1980s sex abuse dossier

Abuse claims police matter - Clegg

Abuse probe 'into soul of society'

From the archives

Kincora: Sex racket at children's home (Irish Independent, 1980)

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