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 any body, 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).

Appointment of the Commissioner for Survivors of Institutional Childhood Abuse (COSICA)

On 6 October 2020 First Minister Arlene Foster and deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill announced the appointment of Fiona Ryan as Commissioner for Survivors of Institutional Childhood Abuse (COSICA).

You can read The Executive Office press release about the appointment via the link below:

Ms Ryan will take up the position for a five-year term from 14 December 2020.

The Interim Advocate is continuing to provide representation to victims and survivors until Ms Ryan takes up her position on 14 December.

Data Breach Investigation Office of the HIA Interim Advocate

Access the NICS Group Internal Audit and Fraud Investigation Service Report into the data breach at the Historical Institutional Abuse Interim Advocate's Office via the link below:

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.

In June 2019 applications were sought from groups and organisations in Northern Ireland that exclusively support victims and survivors of historical institutional abuse.

Additional funding has now become available and a further call for applications is being sought.

Organisations may apply for a maximum of £5,000 (although not guaranteed).


The Executive Office is inviting applications for the period April 2019 – March 2020 from organisations exclusively supporting victims and survivors of historical institutional abuse. Application links are attached, see paragraph 8 below.

The deadline for receipt of applications is 5.00pm on 24 January 2020. A hard copy of the application including the signed declaration must be received by TEO no later than 5.00pm on 24 January 2020.

No late applications will be accepted.

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 5.00 pm on 24 January 2020.

Late signed declarations will not be accepted.

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

Contact details

HIA Implementation Branch
Strategic Policy, Equality and Good Relations Directorate
The Executive Office
Block 2, Knockview Buildings
Stormont Estate
Belfast BT4 3SJ

Telephone: 028 9052 3417

If you have any queries you can contact the HIA Implementation Branch using the contact details above.

Draft Legislation

In early 2018 in light of the ongoing political vacuum and the absence of an NI Executive, the Head of the Civil Service (HOCS) – David Sterling directed the Executive Office (TEO) to develop draft legislation.

This draft legislation was on the basis of the recommendations made in the Hart Report in relation to establishing a:

  • Commissioner for Survivors of Institutional Childhood Abuse (COSICA);
  • Redress Board, which would receive, process and make payments of financial compensation; and
  • Compensation scheme.

Historical Institutional Abuse (Northern Ireland) Act 2019

The Historical Institutional Abuse (NI) Act 2019 became an Act of Parliament on 5 November 2019.

The Bill was welcomed by the Head of the NI Civil Service in a statement.

Redress Board and compensation scheme

The Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) Redress Board in Northern Ireland opened for applications on 31 March 2020. It has been set up to receive and process applications for compensation and to make awards of compensation to those who have been abused within the HIA Inquiry Terms of Reference. The President of the Historical Institutional Abuse Redress Board, the Hon Mr Justice Adrian Colton, was appointed by the Lord Chief Justice, Sir Declan Morgan, on 19 November 2019.

You may be eligible to apply for compensation if you:

  • were resident in an institution (eg children’s home, borstal or training school)  in Northern Ireland between 1922 and 1995 (both dates inclusive); and
  • suffered or witnessed abuse, or were subject to a harsh environment.

You may also be eligible to apply if you were sent to Australia from Northern Ireland under the Child Migrant Programme

You can also apply on behalf of someone who died on or after 28 April 1953 if you are the deceased person’s surviving:

  • spouse
  • civil partner
  • cohabiting partner
  • child

Applicants are advised to contact a solicitor for further information and to make an application. Free legal advice is available to all applicants to the HIA Redress Board.

If you do not have a solicitor, help is available from the Law Society website. Go to ‘Find a solicitor’ and choose ‘Personal Injuries’ to find solicitors in your local area.

In light of the ongoing Covid 19 outbreak, please do not visit a solicitor’s office.  Follow current health advice to stay at home and make contact by telephone or email.

If you wish to apply without engaging the services of a solicitor, an application form can be downloaded from the Redress Board website or a hard copy can be requested by emailing:

Given the current restrictions due to the Covid 19 outbreak and staff working digitally from home, there could be delays in sending out and in processing paper applications.

The application process will be open for a period of five years until 3 April 2025.

For further information, see the frequently asked questions at:

To read more on the appointment of the President of the Redress Board, you can view the following news release:

Interim Advocate

On 2 July 2019, HOCS, appointed an interim advocate for victims and survivors of historical institutional abuse. Brendan McAllister will be in post until the statutory COSICA has been appointed, in line with the recommendation in the Hart Inquiry report.

The interim advocate is independent of government and will act as a voice for victims and survivors, he will:

  • 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 known and emphasised
  • reach out to victims and survivors in other jurisdictions
  • be a channel of communications for the sector.

The interim advocate will officially take up his role on 12 August 2019.

Contact details are available at the following link:

To read more on the Interim Advocate view the following news release: Sterling appoints Interim Advocate for Victims and Survivors of Historical Institutional Abuse

The latest developments regarding Historical Institutional Abuse can be found, via nidirect:

Privacy Notice

The link below outlines how the HIA Branch handles personal information:

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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