Ministers confirm details for historical institutional abuse apology

Date published: 09 March 2022

Statement from Ministers Michelle McIlveen, Conor Murphy, Nichola Mallon, Robin Swann and Naomi Long:


On Friday 11 March we will offer a public apology to victims and survivors of historical institutional abuse on behalf of government. This will be followed by apologies from each of the institutions where systemic failings were found in the Hart Report: De La Salle Order, Sisters of Nazareth, Good Shepherd Sisters, Sisters of St. Louis, Barnardo’s and Irish Church Missions.

The state apology has been co-developed with victims and survivors and in line with the Hart report, which recommended that it should be a wholehearted and unconditional recognition of the failure to protect children from abuse that could and should have been prevented or detected.

In light of the importance of the occasion, we are grateful that the Speaker has given special permission for the apology to take place in the Assembly Chamber of Parliament Buildings, a significant venue as the seat of our legislative Assembly.

We have worked alongside victims and survivors to ensure that the maximum number who wish to hear the apology have been accommodated within the Assembly Chamber and throughout Parliament Buildings. However, we want to make sure that every victim and survivor who wishes to hear the apology has an opportunity to do so, and provision has been made to view the apology online, and at a number of regional centres.

Live online streaming of apology

The apology will be streamed live from 12:30pm on Friday 11 March across NI Assembly platforms:

Live streaming of apology at regional centres

The WAVE Trauma Centre will show the apology live at its  centres in:

  • Belfast
  • Armagh
  • Omagh
  • Ballymoney
  • Derry/Londonderry

Emotional support and refreshments will be available.

We would advise victims and survivors wishing to attend any Wave Trauma Centre to contact them directly in advance on 028 9077 9922.

Supports and services

Victims and survivors of historical institutional abuse have suffered unimaginable pain over many years and we recognise that this long overdue apology will be difficult and emotional for many people. We have worked with partners, including Fiona Ryan, the Commissioner for Survivors of Institutional Childhood Abuse (COSICA), who will also be speaking during the Apology, and with service providers The Victims and Survivors Service (VSS); and two community partners, WAVE Trauma Centre and Advice NI to ensure that services are available on demand.

This includes psychological therapies, personal and professional development, complementary therapies, health and wellbeing caseworker support, welfare support, outreach and befriending, disability aids, information retrieval and management of persistent pain.

VSS and community partners will also be in attendance at the Apology event on 11 March 2022 to provide emotional support.

Following the event, in addition to the usual operating hours of Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm, VSS will also be available via telephone, email or webchat 9am to 5pm Saturday 12 March 2022 and Sunday 13 March 2022.

Survivors can contact VSS on:

WAVE Trauma Centre will also operate a dedicated telephone apology support line: 028 9077 9922 on the following days:

  • Friday 11 March: 9am-8pm
  • Saturday 12 March: 10am-5pm
  • Sunday 13 March: 10am-5pm

A drop in service, emotional and social support is available over the weekend at:

  • WAVE Belfast, 5 Chichester Park South 10-4pm - Saturday 12 March
  • WAVE Derry / Londonderry, 25-30 The Diamond 10-4pm - Sunday 13 March

To speak to the Commissioner for Survivors of Institutional Childhood Abuse (COSICA): Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm on 028 9054 4985

  • Friday 11 March: 9am to 9pm
  • Saturday 12 March: 9am to 5pm
  • Sunday 13 March: 9am to 5pm

Further information

Any victims and survivors of historical institutional abuse who would like more information on the apology can contact the HIA Implementation Branch in The Executive Office on:


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