This House of Lords Library Briefing has been prepared in advance of the second reading in the House of Lords of the Historical Institutional Abuse (Northern Ireland) Bill [HL].
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The Historical Institutional Abuse (Northern Ireland) Bill [HL] provides the legal framework to enable the victims and survivors of historical institutional abuse in Northern Ireland to access support and receive compensation. In September 2011, the Northern Ireland Executive announced there would be an investigation and inquiry into historical institutional abuse in Northern Ireland between 1922 and 1995. This statutory inquiry was chaired by Sir Anthony Hart and its final report was published in January 2017. The report recommendations included the creation of:
- A publicly funded compensation scheme for victims and survivors of historical institutional abuse. The report recommended a Historical Institutional Abuse Redress Board should be created to administer the compensation scheme. The Redress Board would be responsible for receiving and processing applications for compensation by victims and survivors and making payments.
- A commissioner, whose role would be to act as an advocate for the victims and survivors of historical institutional abuse. The commissioner would also ensure victims and survivors were able to access services and that these services were properly co-ordinated. The report recommended the commissioner be assisted by an advisory panel of victims and survivors.
The Northern Ireland Assembly debated the findings of the report in January 2017. However, a motion to approve the report has yet to be passed by the Assembly following the collapse of devolved institutions since elections in March 2017. As a result, the Northern Ireland Executive Office has requested a bill to be introduced in Parliament. The Northern Ireland Executive Office has also held a consultation on draft legislation to implement the inquiry’s recommendations.