Kincora Boys’ Home – NI abuse survivors compensation ‘could reach €30m’
Campaigners have warned that the bill for compensation of child abuse survivors in Northern Ireland could reach €30 million. The number of victims that could be eligible to make claims over their treatment in institutions from 1922-1995 amounts to more than 520 people, including those that resided at the Kincora Boys’ Home in Belfast and victims of Fr Brendan Smyth.
The Stormont Executive is being urged to agree to a special redress scheme, with basic payments starting at £10,000, so as to avoid lengthy, expensive and traumatic civil actions in court. Margaret McGuckin from Survivors and Victims of Institutional Abuse had said it in now time for Ministers to deliver.
“Redress is the practical way for government and others to say sorry for how badly they let us down as children. We suffered then and have suffered the consequences
through our lives ever since – psychological damage and lost opportunities. We shouldn’t have to suffer on into our old age as well.”
The Northern Ireland Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry, chaired by Sir Anthony Hart is due to report to Stormont ministers in January on 157 days of public hearings and evidence from 392 witnesses.
Jon McCourt from Survivors North West, called on Stormont representatives to listen closely and to take their advice seriously.
“ Victims and survivors are a very vulnerable group – some of them are very elderly and have health problems. The Executive office should move with urgency to consult with victims and to then set up the redress scheme.”
Quarter Chartered Accountants (who calculated that costs would amount to £20m to £30m) were commissioned by the independent Panel of Experts on Redress, which includes Mr McCourt and Ms McGuckin, academics, lawyers, human rights organisations and survivor representative groups.
A payment of £10,000 has been proposed for anyone who suffered childhood abuse in an institution, taking into account the length of time spent in a home. Assessments of mental, physical and sexual abuse suffered would also be taken into account.
Survivors have stated that a compensation scheme would be much less traumatic for victims than going through a court based process.
They have urged Stormont ministers to liaise on a potential scheme and on the financial contribution to be made by religious orders and other organisations that ran many of the homes where institutional abuse took place.
The report by the Panel of Experts on Redress will be presented at Parliament Buildings at Stormont today, 17th October 2016.