Victims of historic child abuse in the North should receive state-backed compensation payments of up to £100,000, an inquiry has recommended.
Those abused in state, church and charity run
homes should also be offered an official apology from government and the
organisations that ran the residential facilities where it happened,
the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) inquiry found.
chair Sir Anthony Hart outlined a series of recommendations after he
revealed shocking levels of sexual, physical and emotional abuse in the
period 1922 to 1995.
said the minimum pay-out should be £7,500 with the maximum amount given
to those who had experienced severe levels of abuse as well as being
transported to Australia in a controversial migrant scheme.
He said the organisations that ran the abusing homes should make a financial contribution to the Stormont Executive-run scheme.
Hart said the four-year inquiry found "evidence of systemic failings" in the institutions and homes it investigated.
was evidence of sexual, physical and emotional abuse, neglect and
unacceptable practices across the institutions and homes examined," he
inquiry also identified failings where institutions sought to protect
their reputations and individuals against whom allegations were made, by
failing to take any action at all, failing to report matters to or
deliberately misleading the appropriate authorities and moving those
against whom allegations were made to other locations.
enabled some to continue perpetrating abuse against children. The
inquiry found that those institutions that sent young children to
Australia were wrong to do so and there were failures to ensure the
children were being sent to suitable homes."
The HIA report
also rejected long-standing allegations that a paedophile ring
containing British Establishment figures abused boys in the notorious
Kincora boys' home in Belfast.
It also dismissed claims
that intelligence agencies were aware of such a ring and covered it up
in order to blackmail the high-profile abusers.
members at Kincora were found guilty of abusing residents in the 1970s
but there had long been rumours that others, including civil servants
and businessmen, were involved.
Hart said the notion that
Kincora was a homosexual "brothel" used by the Security Services as a
"honey pot" to obtain compromising information about influential figures
was without foundation.
The investigation also focused on the activities of paedophile priest Brendan Smyth.
evidence sessions the inquiry heard lurid details about the activities
of the serial child molester who frequented Catholic residential homes
and was convicted of more than 100 child abuse charges.
said despite knowing his history of abusing children, the Norbertine
religious order moved Smyth to different diocese where he abused more
They failed to report the abuse to police
"enabling him to continue his abuse", it found. The Order also failed to
take steps to expel him from priesthood, said the inquiry.
fate of Hart's compensation recommendation is mired in a degree of
uncertainty, given the recent Stormont crisis has resulted in the
collapse of the current powersharing executive.
The retired judge said the redress scheme needed to be set up as a "matter of urgency".
also recommended that the Northern Ireland Executive should create a
body called the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry Redress Board.
The board would receive and process claims and payments, said the chairman.
inquiry also recommended that a "suitable physical memorial" should be
erected in Parliament Buildings in Belfast or in the grounds of Stormont
It also called for the creation of a Commissioner
for Survivors of Institutional Childhood Abuse to offer victims support
It recommended the provision of extra state funding to provide specialist care for victims.
The report said:
The former head of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady,
was part of an investigation which "effectively silenced" an alleged
victim of serial sex attacker Smyth.
:: Smyth's crimes were ignored to protect the good name of the Church.
:: Institutions where systemic failings happened may be asked to contribute to the compensation payments.
:: A public apology should be issued to the victims.
No credible evidence was found to show that the security services were
complicit in exploitation of sex abuse at Kincora boys' home in East
Belfast or that prominent Establishment individuals were involved.
Hart said: "We believe it is now time to finally lay these unfounded myths to rest."
A scheme for sending child migrants from institutions to Australia
after the Second World War was "gravely defective" and lessons from
previous similar operations were ignored. The homes relied on
unrealistic assurances about the conditions in homes in Australia.
Some individuals provided excellent care and in the last three decades
up to the 1990s there was an improvement in physical conditions.
spokesman for the Executive Office said the intention was to put the
report to the ministerial Executive at the earliest opportunity.
Executive Office remains sensitive to the needs of all those who have
suffered abuse and is mindful of the destructive impact it has had on
many people. Services continue to be available for those affected
through the HIA Support Service, telephone (028) 90 75 01 31.
"The Executive Office will continue to engage with and support victims and survivors' groups."