Northern Ireland Redress Scheme


March 4, 2020 | By Helen Hughes |

March 4, 2020 | By Helen Hughes |

A compensation scheme for victims of child abuse in Northern Ireland will open in March 2020.

This follows the Northern Ireland Historical Abuse Inquiry. The inquiry investigated the abuse of children under the age of 18 who lived in children’s homes, borstals, training schools, juvenile justice centres, hospitals and orphanages between 1922 and 1995.

The Historical Institutional Abuse Redress Board has been established to oversee and process applications for redress relating to historic institutional abuse. It is estimated that as many as 5,000 people may be eligible for compensation in recognition of the abuse that they suffered in institutions, organisations or care homes in Northern Ireland. 

The scheme will distribute payments ranging from £10,000 to £100,000 depending upon various factors including the nature and extent of the abuse that a person was subjected to.

The institutions and organisations identified so far are:

  • Barnardos, which ran the Macedon Home in Newtownabbey
  • The Sisters of Nazareth
  • The Good Shepherd Sisters
  • The De La Salle order
  • Irish Church Missions
  • The Sisters of St Louis

In 2017 the Inquiry found that abuse was ‘widespread’ within various institutions and organisations run by the state, churches and charities in Northern Ireland.

The application process will open in March 2020 and the Redress Board Panel will be ready to sit from the end of April 2020. Payments for successful applicants will then follow soon after and the scheme will remain open to new applications for a period of 5 years from when the scheme starts. You are advised to ask a solicitor to make the application on your behalf. Your legal costs will be paid separately and will not be deducted from your damages award.

The scheme will also provide assistance to people with queries about:

  • benefits and housing
  • debt and personal finance
  • education and further education, jobs and training
  • searching for personal records
  • help reporting abuse incidents to the Police Service of Northern Ireland

This is a process that charities and other support groups have been pushing for, for many years and the introduction of the scheme does not mark the end of the battle; but rather the start of a practical process to help those individuals who have been affected seek redress as quickly as possible.

The establishing of such a scheme is following in the footsteps of other bodies who have previously set up similar schemes. 

Here at Switalskis we have dealt with numerous other schemes including the Residential Institutions Redress Board (RIRB) in the Republic of Ireland, the Lambeth Children’s Home Redress Scheme that is still currently open in the London Borough of Lambeth and also with the newly opened Ministry of Justice scheme relating to physical abuse at the Medomsley detention centre in County Durham.

If you have been affected by abuse in Northern Ireland and would like to speak to an experienced solicitor about your time in care then please feel free to either telephone us on 01924 882000  or click on the link below, complete the details and we will make contact with you.  Everything that you tell us will be treated in confidence and we will be able to advise you further.

Benefits of the scheme

There are many benefits for individuals in using a scheme like this, the main one being that it is a relatively straightforward process and it will also ensure that payments for redress will be made reasonably quickly. Usually the payments are also much more advantageous than pursuing a claim through the civil courts.

You may be reading this and wondering whether this scheme applies to you and what, if anything, you can do. If you have any questions at all regarding whether you would qualify for the scheme then please do not hesitate to ring us to discuss the matter further. A quick phone call should hopefully be able to put your mind at rest. Our number is 01924 882000.

We will be able to advise and assist you throughout the process and provide you with whatever guidance you require. We are the experts in this specialised area of law and have helped hundreds and hundreds of survivors of historic abuse obtain redress over the years. In the last 18 months alone we have secured over £8 million of compensation in relation to the Lambeth scheme.

So whether you have previously contacted the police, charities or other support groups, or if this is still your sole secret, then we would urge you to make use of the redress scheme and make your voice heard. This will enable you to not only ensure that your story is told but also hopefully help ensure that the future is different for others going through the system today.

For a confidential chat or any information on this please call either David Greenwood or Helen Hughes on 01924 882000

email david.greenwood@switalskis.com or helen.hughes@switalskis.com

Helen Hughes

Helen is an Associate Solicitor within our Child Abuse Compensation team at our Wakefield office. She has specialised in this type of work since 2005 and joined Switalskis in June 2013. She later became an Associate having passed the company's in-house development programme. Helen's profile

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