Am I Eligible for Redress?
The Redress Board will consider applications for compensation from anyone, or on behalf of anyone, who suffered abuse while a child and while resident in an institution in Northern Ireland between 1922 and 1995 or who was sent to Australia as part of the Child Migrants Programme.
The Commissioner can provide general advice and information about applying to the Board, so please feel free to contact us about how to apply. We do not have access to redress cases, and we cannot update you on your application.
The Historical Institutional Abuse (Northern Ireland) Act 2019 gives the Commissioner the following tasks in relation to the Redress Board:
- publicising the role of the Redress Board
- where a person is considering whether to make an application for compensation, the Commissioner must provide any general advice and information on making the application as the person requests. If the person wishes to obtain information about any period in which the applicant was resident in an institution while under the age of 18, the Commissioner must provide assistance in obtaining that information, and
- monitoring the operation of the Redress Board.
I was abused when I went to an institution but I did not stay there as a resident, am I eligible?
The institution must have provided residential accommodation to the person who was abused. Therefore, a person attending as a day student or visitor is not eligible to apply for compensation.
Making an Application
How do I apply?
If you have a solicitor who can complete an online application for you or, if you are not legally represented, you can print a hard copy application to complete and return to the Redress Board. Guidance for completing an online or hard copy application should be read in advance of starting the process. You should complete the Statement of Experience (SoE) provided on the Redress Board website. Before completing the SoE it is recommended that you read the examples of abuse and Banding Guidance documents.
I have already given evidence to the Hart Inquiry. Do I have to submit further evidence to the Redress Board?
No. If you provided evidence to the Hart Inquiry you are not required to provide any further evidence unless you wish to do so. The Redress Board will obtain a copy of your evidence from the Public Records Office Northern Ireland (PRONI) on your behalf. But you do need to submit a completed application and supporting materials require under the rules.
Will I have to attend a hearing?
Most applications will be determined based on the papers you have provided. However, in exceptional circumstances, the panel may direct that an oral hearing should take place. If you are legally represented your solicitor may speak on your behalf and you can bring a friend for support. In most cases the oral hearing will be held in private.
How will I know if my application has been successful?
When the panel has made its decision, communication to advise if the application has been successful and the amount compensation awarded will be sent to your solicitor via an online portal. If you have not appointed a solicitor the Redress Board will notify you directly. You will have 21 days from the date the letter was issued to accept or appeal your award.
Do I need to be legally represented?
No. However, a solicitor will be able to advise you and help you complete your application form.
Who will decide if I am entitled to compensation?
The Northern Ireland Redress Board is responsible for receiving and processing applications for compensation from those who experienced abuse in residential institutions in Northern Ireland between 1922 and 1995. A Redress Board panel, which consists of one judicial member and two non-judicial members with a health and social care background, will consider the information in your application and any additional relevant evidence you wish to provide. Your solicitor may advise and assist you with this.
How much compensation will I receive?
If your application is successful, the Redress Board panel may decide to award you a standard payment of £10,000 or an enhanced payment, based on the severity of the matters in your application, of up to a maximum of £80,000. If you were sent to Australia under the Child Migrants Programme and you have not already been awarded compensation under the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) scheme, you will receive £20,000.
Will I be able to get an advance payment or interim award?
You can indicate if you would like to receive an advance or interim payment when you make your application. This will be paid in situations where the redress panel agree that your application is successful, but more time is needed to fully determine the application. The amount of the interim payment is £10,000 which may be increased once the panel complete their determination.
What is the difference between an interim award and a standard award?
An interim award may be paid if the redress panel agree that your application is successful, but more time is needed to fully determine the application. The amount of an interim payment is £10,000 which may be increased once the panel complete their determination. However, a standard award of £10,000 is final and you will not be offered a further amount as the panel have completed their determination. The redress panel will use the information included in your application to make their determination on whether you will be offered a standard award of £10,000 or an enhanced award of between £10,001 and £80,000.
How long will it take the panel to decide how much compensation I should receive?
The time taken to process an application will vary for a number of reasons including; the complexity of the matters identified in the application; the availability and accuracy of records; the status of the institution; queries around jurisdiction, the behaviours of the parties, and whether all of the necessary statutory proofs and evidentiary documentation required under the Rules have been submitted with the application. The length of time it takes to decide will also depend on the complexity of your application and the volume of applications received.
How is compensation paid?
An Award Acceptance Form will be sent out along with the Determination Notification. You will have 21 days from the date the letter was issued to accept or appeal your award. The form requests the details of the bank account into which money is to be paid. This can either be your own bank account or your solicitor’s bank account.
What happens if I am unhappy about the decision, either not to pay compensation or the amount of money awarded?
You can appeal the decision of the panel. A single judicial member of the Redress Board will consider the appeal on behalf of the Board and may decide to confirm the panel’s decision, reverse the decision or increase or reduce the amount of the award of compensation.
Will I need to pay legal costs?
The Redress Board will pay your legal representative’s costs as set out in the Historical Institutional Abuse Redress Board (Applications and Appeals) Rules (Northern Ireland) 2020 (see in particular the tables of scale costs in the Schedule). This is the secondary legislation that sets out the procedures that the Board must follow when processing applications.
I receive means tested benefits; will these be affected if I also receive a redress award?
Any means tested benefit you receive will not be affected by compensation you receive from the Redress Board. As it is a change in circumstance, you should declare it to the relevant benefits office, but it will be disregarded as part of means testing. So your benefits will not change because of any redress award you receive. Legislation to provide similar financial protection for Northern Ireland redress recipients now living in Great Britain and in receipt of means tested benefits was passed on 10 December 2021. If you live outside of the UK and you receive compensation from the Northern Ireland Redress Board, you may wish to consider any impact on your finances, and it may be useful to speak to your solicitor or a financial advisor.
How do I contact the Redress Board?
There is much more information available on the Redress Board’s website or you can contact the Board at:PO Box 2266
Telephone: 028 9056 9147
If you have a query about your application after it has been submitted to the Redress Board by a solicitor, you must contact your solicitor, who should update you on the progress of your application.
Where can I get help with the Redress Process?
For general advice on how to apply, you can contact the Commissioner’s Office or the Redress Board’s website
The Redress Board can be contacted at:PO Box 2266
- For help finding a solicitor, you can contact the Northern Ireland Law Society (solicitors in Northern Ireland can represent clients who live in other countries)
- For support and to access services for Victims and Survivors, you can contact the Victims and Survivors Service on 028 9031 1678
- For welfare advice, you can contact Advice NI (or 028 9064 5919)
- For help with tracing records about your time in care Public Records Office of Northern Ireland PRONI or you can contact the Victims and Survivors Service on 028 9031 1678
- For support compiling your Statement of Experience, if you have a solicitor you can ask them to help you or you can contact the Victims and Survivors Service on 028 9031 1678. View the Redress Board’s guidance on completing the Statement of Experience.