HIA: Civil Service completes draft compensation legislation

By Gareth Gordon
BBC News NI Political Correspondent

Image caption,
David Sterling is the head of Northern Ireland's civil service

Stormont parties have been told civil service officials have completed work on draft legislation intended to set up a compensation scheme for victims of Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA).

The Northern Ireland secretary said it was a matter for devolved government.

The HIA had been tasked with investigating allegations of abuse and neglect in children's residential homes, run by religious, charitable and state organisations.

Its remit covered a 73-year-period from 1922 to 1995.

Led by retired judge Sir Anthony Hart, it recommended that a tax-free compensation payment should be made to all survivors of institutional child abuse, with lump sums ranging from £7,500 to £100,000.

Image caption,
The HIA heard evidence from hundreds of people who spent their childhood in residential homes and institutions

David Sterling, the head of Northern Ireland's Civil Service, has now written to parties to inform them of the move.

The letter added that draft legislation for other support measures for victims is now ready.

Mr Sterling said a consultation will start later this month.

The two bills would set up a redress board to oversee the compensation and create a Commissioner for Survivors of Institutional Childhood Abuse.

So far, Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley has given no suggestion that Westminster will implement the legislation.

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