Northern Ireland abuse inquiry report
Sir, – The publication of the final report of the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) marks the conclusion of the daunting task faced by Sir Anthony Hart and his panel who had to examine abuse at children’s residential institutions over 73 years since the foundation of Northern Ireland until the mid-1990s.
It is of concern that Sir Anthony’s recommendations cannot be fully realised until political stability is restored and our devolved political institutions are fully functioning. It is vital that those who will be elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly on March 2nd commit themselves to urgent consideration of these matters.
Many of the testimonies heard during dozens of public hearings at the inquiry were harrowing. The inquiry’s call for a new commissioner for survivors of institutional childhood abuse and the panel’s recommendations for redress are to be welcomed.
Institutions must now be held to account for the prolonged, systematic failings against the children in their care. It is right that the survivors receive the justice they deserve.
The HIA has highlighted once again the vital importance of helping children to speak out and to take action on abuse. It has further emphasised the need for abused children to be helped and supported – however long has passed since their ordeal took place.
The inquiry’s report and recommendations are a solid platform on which improvements can be made to the provision of residential care of children. It is vital that momentum is not lost and this work begins as soon as politics allows. – Yours, etc,
Head of National Society
for the Prevention
of Cruelty to Children