Skip to main content

Chair urges Secretary of State to legislate to support victims of abuse

22 March 2019

The Chair of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, Dr Andrew Murrison MP, has written to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to urge the Government to bring forward legislation to enable the recommendations in the 2017 Hart report on victims of historical institutional abuse to be implemented.

In the letter, Dr Andrew Murrison, emphasises that since the publication of the Hart report on victims of historical institutional abuse in January 2017 the important recommendations it made have not been implemented due to the breakdown of devolution in Northern Ireland. The Hart report, which followed four years of inquiry into the physical, emotional and sexual abuse of children at some 22 care homes in Northern Ireland including Kincora care home and the Sisters of Nazareth care homes in Belfast and Derry throughout the latter half of the twentieth century, found a string of abuse and consistent failures to support victims. 

Although the Northern Ireland Office has brought forward some legislation relating to Northern Ireland since the collapse of the Executive in January 2017, no legislation has yet been passed to enable the Hart reports recommendations on public apologies, financial compensation and additional support for those who were abused to be implemented. The Chair of the Committee notes that the Government has missed opportunities to pass legislation that would allow compensation, and stresses that it must be brought through Westminster as soon as possible.

Chair's comments 

Commenting on the letter, Dr Andrew Murrison MP said:

"The inability to implement the recommendations of the Hart report, despite the gravity of the issues it deals with, is a reminder to us all that restoration of the Northern Ireland Executive is essential to ensure justice, progress and protection for the people of Northern Ireland. I have written to the Northern Ireland Secretary in the absence of Stormont ministers to ask her to grip this now so that victims are given what they need and deserve without further painful delay. I also urge the Secretary of State to seek a meeting with Judge Hart."

Further information

Image: Parliamentary copyright