Compensation for survivors of historical abuse in Northern Ireland to average £18,500 each

This month, the BBC reported that a financial redress or compensation scheme for survivors of historical institutional abuse in Northern Ireland could cost £114m, with the average amount of compensation paid to survivors in the region of £18,500 each.

New draft legislation is due to be put into effect following a public consultation which is due to close in February after running for 12 weeks.

The legislation would:

  • Create a new Commissioner for Survivors of Institutional Childhood Abuse and set up a redress board, consisting of judicial figures
  • Set out the workings of a financial compensations scheme
  • For someone to qualify for compensation, they will have to demonstrate on the balance of probabilities to the Redress Board that they have suffered or witnessed abuse
  • The next of kin of someone entitled to compensation who has died will also be entitled to 75% of the amount which would otherwise have been awarded

Some 526 survivors gave evidence to either the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry; or the so-called ‘acknowledgement forum’, where people could tell their stories on a confidential basis.

David Sterling, Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service, said: "The victims and survivors have suffered horribly. This is an issue that transcends politics and... if at that stage we don't have local ministers in place then... there will be a moral responsibility upon the Secretary of State to take ownership of this issue."

In the Irish Republic, roughly 10 times as many people made financial claims as came forward to give evidence, so officials calculate that about 5,000 former residents of institutions in Northern Ireland could apply for financial redress.


The Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry was set up to examine allegations of child abuse in children's homes and other institutions. The Hart inquiry recommended a minimum lump sum payment of £7,500 to those who could demonstrate that they had either suffered or witnessed abuse in care homes or other institutions.

The inquiry said the payments should rise up to £80,000, depending on the severity of the abuse.

In addition, any children transported to Australia will be entitled to an extra payment of £20,000.

It is thought this could apply to around 130 people.

Verisona Law have a wealth of experience dealing with survivors of historical abuse having previously been involved in the Jimmy Savile scheme, Haut de la Garenne scheme and have recently been instructed to act for over 150 survivors of abuse in children’s homes under the Lambeth Children’s Homes redress scheme.

If you, or a loved one, have been affected by sexual abuse, please do not hesitate to contact our team of experienced lawyers who will be happy to speak to you about whether it may be possible to bring an abuse claim.

Below is a selection of organisations/instutions/bodies we are frequently instructed to pursue.


  • Private schools, boarding schools, local authority schools, closed schools, hospital schools.


  • The Scouts Association, St Johns Ambulance, MIND, the Children’s Society, Barnados.

Private companies

  • Football trainers, judo teachers, dance instructors, swimming instructors, holiday activity centres, nurseries, youth clubs.

Local Authorities/Ministry of Defence

  • County Councils, Borough Councils, City Councils, ILEA, cadets, navy/ army (forces).

National Health Service Trusts/Commissioning Boards/GPs

  • Hospitals, Disability care centres, children’s care providers.


  • Convicted perpetrators, acquitted perpetrators.

Children’s Homes

  • Respite care, full time children’s home, part-time children’s homes.

Religious Institutions

  • Roman Catholic Church, United Synagogue, Sisters of Nazareth, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Brothers Order.

Foster Carers

  • Permanent carers, temporary carers

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