Legislation to support victims and survivors of historical institutional abuse – consultation open

Date published: 19 November 2018

The Executive Office is encouraging responses to a consultation on draft legislation intended to help the victims and survivors of historical institutional abuse.


The department has today published three pieces of proposed legislation which are in line with the recommendations made in the Hart Report in January 2017 to establish:

  • a Commissioner for Survivors of Institutional Childhood Abuse;
  • a Redress Board; and
  • a compensation scheme.

David Sterling, Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service said: “I have met with victims and survivors of historical institutional abuse on several occasions since being appointed Head of the Civil Service. I have heard harrowing personal accounts of the destructive impact the abuse has had on many people.

“Many of them feel that there is no escape and unfortunately that is something that will live with them for a very long time. They have told me that many years later they are still hurting, still suffering.” 

David Sterling continued: “I have delivered on my undertaking given earlier in the year to victims and survivors of historical institutional abuse, that The Executive Office would prepare the necessary legislation to establish a Redress Board and a Commissioner for Survivors of Institutional Childhood Abuse.

“This has been a challenging and complex area of work, particularly in the absence of an Executive, however we owe it to the victims and survivors to do all we can for them. I urge anyone who has an interest to contribute to this consultation on the draft legislation.”

The consultation is now open and will run for a 12 week period until 10 February 2019. More information and details on how to respond are available on TEO’s website at: www.executiveoffice-ni.gov.uk/HIA-consultation

When the consultation process is complete, the proposed legislation will be for Ministers to consider and take forward. David Sterling said: “I am committed to moving to implementation, as quickly as possible, once Ministers have taken the necessary decisions. I assured victims and survivors of this commitment when I met with their representatives today just before the consultation was officially launched.”

TEO will also be engaging with stakeholders and others with an interest in this issue over the course of the consultation period.  Details of the first of the information sessions are:

  • Clayton Hotel Belfast – 4.00pm to 6.00pm on Tuesday 4 December
  • Maldron Hotel, Derry – 4.00pm to 6.00pm on Wednesday 5 December

To register for one of these events, e-mail: HIAConsultation@executiveoffice-ni.gov.uk or call HIA Implementation Branch on 028 9052 3250.

Details of further engagement events will be made available at: www.executiveoffice-ni.gov.uk/HIA-Consultation

Notes to editors: 

Media enquiries to The Executive Office Press Office on 028 9037 8142. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer on 028 9037 8110.

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