Statement on Apology to Survivors of Historical Institutional Abuse

11 March 2022 News
NICCY Logo with Cartoon Children Peaking

*Trigger warning: If you are affected by this content please talk to a trusted person.

While most children and young people in Northern Ireland will not experience any kind of sexual abuse, some do. If you are affected or are worried about someone you know please ask for help from a trusted adult to help you get the help you need or contact social services or police.

If you feel you can’t speak to an adult you trust like a parent, youth worker or teacher, then please contact ChildLine (08001111 or Lifeline 0808 808 8000; they both offer free, confidential advice and support to young people, are open 24 hours a day.

Survivors of historical institutional abuse have waited for too long for today’s apology.  This day is entirely about them. The Northern Ireland State failed them in the most egregious way – they did not protect children in their care nor did they hold others to account when they failed.  Survivors have campaigned tirelessly to be heard and believed; to have their abuse, trauma and hurt acknowledged.  It is my sincerest wish that, as a result of their work, children who experience abuse today will be believed and will receive the support, recognition and services they need and that perpetrators and the State will be held to account.

The victims and survivors of historical institutional abuse have highlighted the devastating impact this abuse has had on their lives and this should make us more determined than ever to ensure that effective services are in place to support all children and young people in their recovery.

I commend my Colleague Fiona Ryan, Commissioner for Survivors of Institutional Childhood Abuse, in the work she has undertaken to support victims and survivors.

Finally, I want to express my deepest regret that so many thousands of adults experienced such horrific treatment as children in the very Institutions purportedly tasked to care for them.  I also want to state that my Office will work to honour your resilience to ensure that no child ever has similar experiences. We will work to make sure that we have the highest standards of care for all our children and young people.