Frequently Asked Questions
The information provided here is intended for guidance and addresses common concerns, questions, and issues that have been raised with the Interim Advocate’s Office. However, if you have other questions, please contact the Interim Advocate’s Office for help and advice.
Q: Who can claim for compensation?
A: Anyone who has suffered abuse as a child whilst resident in an institution at any time between 1922 and 1995 (inclusive). Q: What if the applicant is unable to make an application because of ill health? An applicant who is too unwell to make an application may seek the help of a solicitor to complete and submit the form. Family members may provide as much information as possible to the solicitor. Relatives may also act on behalf of an applicant who is too unwell to initiate an application by themselves.
Q: What is the amount of compensation available?
A: The amount of compensation which may be awarded is (a) an amount of £10,000; (b) an amount not exceeding £70,000 if the panel is satisfied that an additional amount is justified by the severity of the matters raised in the application; and (c) an amount of £20,000 if the application is made by or in respect of a person who was sent to Australia under the ‘Child Migrants Programme’. Accordingly, the maximum amount which may be awarded is (a) £80,000 or (b) £100,000 if the applicant is a Child Migrant.
Q: What is meant by ‘institution’?
A: ‘Institution’ means an institution in Northern Ireland in which a body or society or organisation in Northern Ireland with responsibility for the care, health and welfare of children, who provided residential accommodation for children, took decisions for them and made provision for their day-to-day care.
Q: Can an application be made for a deceased family member?
A: Yes. An application may be made for a person who died on or after 28 April 1953. This application can be made by: the deceased’s surviving spouse, civil partner or cohabitating partner or any surviving child (not a step child) if they are the main beneficiary of the deceased’s estate. An application may be made jointly by two or more of the persons entitled to apply.
Q: Will the institutions be asked to provide information to assist the panel?
A: Yes. The panel must request the body, society or organisation which provided residential accommodation in an institution to provide information to verify the accuracy of information provided in the application. However, this duty does not arise in respect of a person who provided evidence to the Inquiry. In addition, PRONI will also provide access to the Inquiry records held on their premises.
Q: Whilst as a child, I was admitted as a resident to Muckamore Abbey Hospital where I suffered abuse, can I make an application under this Redress Scheme?
A: Yes. Section 2(1) of the Historical Institutional Abuse (NI) Act 2019 (the “HIA Act”) provides that an application for compensation may be made by or in respect of a person who suffered abuse while a child and while resident in an institution at some time between 1922 and 1995. Institutions that were not investigated by the HIA Inquiry may still be the subject of applications to the HIA Redress Board, provided that the eligibility requirements set out in legislation are satisfied.
Q: Who can claim for compensation?
A: An application for compensation may be made by or in respect of a person who suffered abuse while a child and while resident in an institution at some time between 1922 and 1995 (inclusive).
Q: What constitutes abuse within the HIA Act?
A: A reference to having suffered abuse is a reference to:
(a) having suffered sexual, physical or emotional abuse or neglect or maltreatment;
(b) having witnessed one or more other children suffer abuse of a kind referred to in paragraph (a) above;
(c) having otherwise been exposed to a harsh environment, or
(d) having been sent to Australia under the programme commonly known as the ‘Child Migrants Programme’.
Q: I gave evidence at the Hart Inquiry. Do I still have to apply?
A: Yes. The legislation requires an application to be made to the Redress Board.
Q: Does the Act cover children who were abused whilst in foster care?
A: No. However, if you were in an institution prior to or after a period of foster care and suffered abuse, you can make an application for the time spent in the institution.