Review of the Redress Process for Victims and Survivors of Institutional Childhood Abuse
I have formally submitted to The Executive Office my response to the Review of the Redress Process undertaken by Supporting Justice. I spoke with victim and survivor group representatives about the review before submitting my response.
While there is an acknowledgement that there are some positives in the report which may potentially deliver some improvements to the process, the general view shared with me was disappointment in that it was felt that the recommendations of the report will not deliver the changes needed. I will be meeting with other organisations involved in the review to see what positives can be taken forward and actioned as priorities. I will, however, keep raising core issues around communications and transparency.
Communications: I had advocated for an information helpline for victim and survivor applicants so they could independently be kept up to date on the status of their applications.
Transparency: the need to develop a robust framework which includes monitoring the operation of the Redress Board.
I was glad to see the need to have a publicity awareness campaign included within the report. I know that survivor representatives have been raising the need to have a campaign to inform victims and survivors of redress. I have separately been raising this issue with the Executive Office and will be reminding the department again that Government has a responsibility to inform survivors in Northern Ireland and elsewhere of their redress entitlements. This campaign was promised to survivors in 2019 and it needs to happen as quickly as practicable. We know that there are many more survivors in the community who are not aware of redress and of the related supports in place. We also know that sadly, many are reaching their later years and passing without receiving redress. My priority is to get agreement on implementing the campaign and to ensure Government honours its responsibility of informing victims and survivors.
A more detailed update will issue later and will set out other key priorities and activities for the weeks and months ahead.