Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry publishes final report



The final report of the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry has been published.

Northern Ireland’s Justice Minister Claire Sugden thanked Sir Anthony Hart, a retired High Court judge, for his work on the inquiry, which was set up in 2013.

The inquiry’s final report - presented to the Executive two weeks ago - highlights widespread abuse and mistreatment of children in 22 homes and other residential institutions between 1922 to 1995.

Ms Sugden also paid tribute to the victims who gave evidence.

She said: “We owe a debt of gratitude to every single person who spoke before the Inquiry. They suffered horrendous abuse at the hands of those who should have been caring for them, and when they tried to speak out were branded as liars – in many many cases this denial continued for decades.

“Those who have come forward to tell their stories to the inquiry have shown great courage not only for themselves but on behalf of the many, unnamed and unacknowledged, others who felt unable to come forward, or sadly have not lived to do so.

“I totally condemn any act of abuse perpetrated against any child in an institution. Those who were placed in these institutions trusted they would be cared for with dignity and respect, treated compassionately and protected from abuse. For many that trust was misplaced.

“Although this abuse took place a long time ago, the Department of Justice operates zero tolerance around child abuse and continually reviews its policies in respect of child protection.

“The findings of the HIA inquiry report are being carefully examined and new lessons emerging from the work of the Inquiry will be acted upon. Caring properly for young people within the justice system is at the heart of a civilised society and the Department of Justice does not hesitate to fulfil its role in this area.”

Ms Sugden recognised the magnitude of the task undertaken by Sir Anthony and his colleagues and commended the team’s professionalism and its valuable work, particularly the ground-breaking initiative of the Acknowledgment Forum.