The Northern Ireland Executive established the Inquiry into Historical Institutional Abuse, which investigated abuse of children under 18 who were living in an institution* in Northern Ireland between 1922 and 1995.

* For the purposes of the HIA Inquiry and this Grant Scheme, “institution” means anybody, society or organisation with responsibility for the care, health or welfare of children in Northern Ireland, other than a school (but including a training school or borstal) which, during the relevant period, provided residential accommodation and took decisions about and made provision for the day to day care of children. “Relevant period” means the period between 1922 and 1995 (both years inclusive).


The Executive Office (TEO) in the absence of a functioning Executive drafted legislation on the basis of the recommendations made in the HIA Inquiry’s Report with regard to the establishment of a:

  • Commissioner for Survivors of Institutional Childhood Abuse (COSICA)
  • Redress Board, which would receive, administer and determine payments of financial compensation
  • Compensation scheme

The public consultation ran from 19 November 2018 to 10 March 2019 with 562 responses received.

The Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service wrote to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland following completion of the consultation analysis and report asking her to progress the legislative reform through Parliament.

The Secretary of State has subsequently sought the views of the local political parties on those policy issues raised during the consultation, which require Ministerial decision.

The local political parties reached agreement of the issues on 5 June 2019.  The party leaders wrote to the SOSNI collectively on 11 June 2019, stating their wish that the legislative proposals be updated accordingly and progressed through Westminster at the earliest possible opportunity.

View the ‘Historical Institutional abuse Consultation: Report on Responses’ via the link below:

Interim Advocate

David Sterling, Head of the NI Civil Service announced the appointment of Brendan McAllister as the Interim Advocate for victims and survivors of historical institutional abuse on 2 July 2019.  It is intended that such an appointment would provide an independent voice and channel for HIA victims and survivors and ensure essential support until a statutory commissioner is appointed and a Redress Board established.

The role of Interim Advocate is independent of government and he will officially take up his post on 12th August 2019.  Further information and contact details will be publicised in due course.

As the primary voice for victims and survivors, he will seek to:

  • Advocate on behalf of victims and survivors during the passage of legislative proposals;
  • Work with service providers to ensure the needs of victims and survivors are both known and emphasised;
  • Reach out to victims and survivors in other jurisdictions; and
  • Be a channel of communication for the sector.

You can read more on this via the following news release: Sterling appoints Interim Advocate for Victims and Survivors of Historical Institutional Abuse

Small Grant Scheme for Social Support

In 2014 a small grant scheme was established by The Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) to fund additional support service projects to victims and survivors of historical institutional abuse. The scheme was initially extended by The Executive Office (TEO) for an additional year (until March 2018), however authority to extend the scheme for a further two years has since been approved.

The aim of the scheme is to help improve the lives of victims and survivors through the provision of funding for social support activity, enabling them to maintain engagement with The Executive Office and to support each other throughout the process.

Applications are now being sought from groups and organisations in Northern Ireland that exclusively support victims and survivors of historical institutional abuse.


The Executive Office is inviting applications from the organisations exclusively supporting victims and survivors of historical institutional abuse for the period April 2019 – March 2020. Application links are attached, see paragraph 7 below.

The deadline for receipt of applications has now passed.

All projects must be completed by 31 March 2020

Eligibility criteria

In order to be eligible for grant funding, your organisation must:

  • be legally able to operate in Northern Ireland;
  • be independent and have a constitution or set of rules defining their aims, objectives and operational procedures;
  • established for charitable purposes (be registered with the Charities Commission for Northern Ireland and have a registered charity number, or be in the process of registering);
  • have a suitable management structure and appropriate financial controls;
  • have principles of operation which accord with legislation on employment, health and safety, racial, religious, age, political, sexual and disability discrimination for employees and volunteers; and
  • demonstrate an understanding of and commitment to equal opportunities.
  • demonstrate an understanding of and adherence to the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation, which came into force on 25 May 2018.

How to apply

You can download the guidance notes and application form at the link below.

Application forms, along with supporting documentation, can be submitted by post or email. If you are applying by email you must also submit a hard copy of your signed declaration by 5.00pm Tuesday 30 April 2019.

Late signed declarations will not be accepted.

Forms submitted by post must be marked 'HIA Small Grant Scheme for Social Support'.

Contact us

If you have any queries you can contact the HIA Implementation Branch via the the following link: HIA Implementation Branch

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