Progress on supports for survivors of residential institutional abuse

Progress on supports for survivors of residential institutional abuse

Draft legislation providing for a package of ongoing supports to survivors of abuse in residential institutions is to be published.

The text of the Supports for Survivors of Residential Institutional Abuse Bill, which provides for supports in areas including health, advocacy and education, was approved by ministers yesterday.

Education minister Norma Foley said: “The whole of government is acutely conscious of the enormous trauma which has been endured by all survivors of abuse, including those in residential institutions. It is vital that survivors know that government is responding strongly.

“Today, Cabinet has approved the legislation which will enable the introduction of a new package of ongoing supports in areas including health and education, including access to ‘enhanced medical cards’ and grants to assist with engaging in further or higher education.”

The “enhanced medical card” provided for by the legislation matches the support which is provided to survivors of the Magdalen laundries under the Magdalen laundry scheme and which will be provided to former residents of mother and baby and county home institutions under the mother and baby institutions payment scheme.

Survivors living abroad will be able to avail of a payment of €3,000 in lieu of the enhanced medical card to support their health needs. This is the same approach taken in respect of the mother and baby institutions payment scheme.

The bill also provides for grants for survivors to assist them in engaging in further or higher education. These payments will be additional to any SUSI grants that survivors may be entitled to and the scheme will also ensure that survivors are not required to pay the student contribution charge where this would otherwise apply.

The government said the bill is being progressed as a priority, with a view to rolling out these supports from the second half of this year.

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