First Minister Paul Givan and deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill have announced the establishment of a review of the client journey for HIA redress to improve the experiences of victims and survivors.
First Minister Paul Givan said:
“I have listened carefully to the views and experiences of victims and survivors of historical institutional abuse around engagement with the current redress process.
“Much good work has been achieved over the last 15 months, including determinations in over 1,090 cases totalling £20 million, and there is a clear imperative to consider what can be done better.
“A full and broad review will now be undertaken to ensure that the needs of victims and survivors are at the heart of all aspects and stages of the process.
“My commitment today is to make sure that lessons are learned and acted upon swiftly. I acknowledge and commend the ongoing work by the President of the Redress Board to improve communications and other supports.
“I would reassure all those individuals who have yet to decide to come forward, have confidence that you will be treated with dignity, respect and compassion.”
Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said:
“Delivering acknowledgement, redress and support for victims and survivors of historical institutional abuse is a priority for me personally, and it is a shared commitment for the whole Executive.
“As we undertake this review, the needs of victims and survivors are foremost in our minds. After years of their voices being suppressed or ignored, it is incumbent on us to do everything possible to make sure that never happens again. We have listened to their experiences, and are committed to making improvements to the redress process through this review.
“However, we do not need to wait for the outcome of the review and should move ahead with any positive changes to the scheme as soon as they can be implemented; indeed, I welcome that improvements have already been made.
“We must also continue to ensure that victims and survivors, who have already endured so much, are supported in a way that meets their individual needs.”
Work is now underway on the Terms of Reference (ToR) for the Review and this is expected to be completed over the summer. This will be informed by engagement with victims and survivors and will also involve the Redress Board, the Commissioner for Survivors of Institutional Abuse and support services.