Applying for Redress

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.

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.

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. 

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.

 

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 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.

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 will I know if my application has been successful?

When the panel has made its decision the Redress Board will write to you, and to your solicitor if you have one, to advise you how much compensation you have been awarded. You will have 21 days from the date the letter was issued to accept or appeal your award.

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.

I receive means tested benefits; will these be affected if I also receive a redress award?

If you live in Northern Ireland 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 is being progressed. In the meantime, arrangements are in place through the Department of Work and Pensions to have any redress awards disregarded, until the legislation is changed, but it should also be declared as a change in circumstance. 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.

Do I need to be legally represented?

No. However, a solicitor will be able to advise you and help you complete your application form.

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
Belfast
BT1 9ZP
Email: admin@hiaredressni.uk
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
Belfast
BT1 9ZP
Email: admin@hiaredressni.uk