Northern Ireland news

Institutional abuse group urges Theresa May to act on compensation legislation

Margaret McGuckin of Survivors and Victims of Institutional Abuse. Picture by Alan Lewis, Photopress

A GROUP representing victims of institutional abuse has asked Theresa May to put compensation legislation before the Commons ahead of its summer break on Thursday.

Survivors and Victims of Institutional Abuse (Savia) has urged Mrs May to do so as a "final show of good faith" before she leaves as Prime Minister on Wednesday.

In an emotional letter, the group said the move "would mean so much to victims and survivors of institutional abuse in Northern Ireland".

The head of the Northern Ireland civil service, David Sterling, confirmed on Thursday that Secretary of State Karen Bradley had been given the final draft of legislation aimed at giving redress to victims.

It is more than two years since the Historical Institutional Abuse inquiry exposed serious sexual, physical and emotional abuse over decades at children's homes run by religious orders, charities and the state.

A report by the inquiry, published in January 2017, recommended compensation payments, an apology and care packages for victims.

In the letter to Mrs May, Savia spokeswoman Margaret McGuckin wrote: "Victims and survivors have campaigned tirelessly since this point to get justice and have had doors closed on us continuously."

She added: "This follows a lifetime of suffering, and old wounds reopened as victims and survivors have been retraumatised through the process of the inquiry and subsequent devastation at the lack of action following their brave testimony."

Ms McGuckin said Mrs May had previously promised to do "whatever is necessary" to act on the report.

"With the legislation now ready, all that remains is making the necessary time to progress it through parliament, and so we are asking you as a final show of good faith, that you make provision for this before recess creates yet another delay for us," she wrote.

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