The Historical Institutional Abuse inquiry heard harrowing testimony from hundreds of former residents who made claims of sexual, physical and emotional suffering over many decades in church, state and charity-run homes.
While the report will not be made public until later in the month,
the panel has already made clear it will be recommending some form of
compensation be offered to victims.
Inquiry chair, retired judge Sir Anthony Hart, said: "I want to thank
everyone who came forward to tell us of their experiences as I know how
hard it was for many to find the courage to do so.
"I also want to thank all those who worked with the inquiry in a
co-operative way, and by doing so helped my colleagues and myself to
complete our report on time."
The report has been passed to First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy
First Minister Martin McGuinness at a time when the power-sharing
institutions in Belfast are engulfed in a crisis around a botched
renewable energy scheme.
Evidence during 223 days of hearings outlined allegations of brutality and sex abuse dating back to the 1920s.
The inquiry finished with an investigation into a paedophile ring
that operated at the notorious Kincora boys' home, east Belfast.
Earlier the expert panel heard lurid details about the activities of
Fr Brendan Smyth, a serial child molester who frequented Catholic
residential homes and was convicted of more than 100 child abuse
Other former residents claimed some Catholic nuns at a Sisters of
Nazareth children's home in Northern Ireland were sadistic bullies who
did not do enough to protect residents from sexual predators.
A man alleged he was raped by a member of the Catholic De La Salle
order of brothers using a piece of equipment for restraining farm
animals. Police said sex abuse at Rubane House in Co Down was rife.
Children sent to Australia under a special transportation scheme were
treated like baby convicts, witnesses said, deprived of their real
identities and shipped without parental consent.
However, a health worker who visited Kincora said she was unaware of
the abuse, while a lawyer told the public inquiry fewer than 2% of
residents at a Catholic-run training school alleged mistreatment.
Others said they had been well cared for by overworked staff when
they had nowhere else to go and when wider society had rejected them
because they were born to unmarried mothers or were orphans.
Some were resident during the chaos of 1970s Belfast or Londonderry when T he Troubles were at their fiercest.
The public inquiry was ordered by Stormont's ministerial Executive
following pressure from alleged victims and similar probes in the
Republic of Ireland and elsewhere.
It was created in 2013 to investigate child abuse in residential
institutions in Northern Ireland over a 73-year period, up to 1995.
A spokesman for the Executive Office said: "The First Minister and
Deputy First Minister thank Sir Anthony Hart and his colleagues for
delivering the report within the time frame.
Ministers remain sensitive to the views of all those who have
suffered abuse and are mindful of the destructive impact it has had on
many people. Ministers will give the report full consideration and will not be
making any comment ahead of the report being formally published on 20