NI: Survivors of child abuse call on MLAs to set up redress scheme
MLAs received calls yesterday to set up a comprehensive redress system for survivors of historic child abuse.
Survivors were convened in Stormont for the launch of a new report setting out the findings of research conducted by a new Expert Panel on Redress, comprising representatives from a range of victims’ groups, Amnesty International and other national and international experts.
The panel was convened by Professor Patricia Lundy of Ulster University, who authored the report - What Survivors Want From Redress - based on discussions with around 75 abuse survivors. The work of the panel has been facilitated by experts at Ulster University.
Margaret McGuckin, of Survivors and Victims of Institutional Abuse (SAVIA), said: “As we move closer to the end of the Abuse Inquiry, it is right to start focusing minds at Stormont on what sort of redress system is required to respond to the suffering experienced by generations of children in Northern Ireland.
“As in other countries where there was systemic abuse of children, victims have a right to expect the State to respond with an apology, with compensation and with other measures to deal with the effects of that cruelty. Our message to politicians today is: do what is right by victims and survivors. We have already been failed once. Don’t fail us again.”
Jon McCourt, of victims group Survivors North West, said: “Those who suffered abuse as defenceless children have a clear right to truth and justice. Part of justice must be reparation for the harms we all experienced. We have consulted with scores of other victims about what sort of redress they expected and the report we launch today is what they told us.
“Many of the boys and girls who were in children’s homes alongside us are no longer alive today. Lives have been foreshortened. For many survivors, the effects of the abuse have been long-lasting and harm has been passed down the generations. We not only expect a full apology for what was done to us, but also an acknowledgment that government has a responsibility to right those wrongs.”
Professor Patricia Lundy of Ulster University, who authored the report on behalf of the Expert Panel, said: “The focus of this report is what survivors of historical residential institutional abuse want from redress and the legal obligations that underpin such demands. The overall aim of this initiative is to ensure that an effective redress scheme is initiated without delay and that survivors play a central role in shaping such a scheme. We expect that survivors’ voices will be heard by Ministers and we are here at Stormont to ensure that they are.”