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BASW Cymru backs call for abuse survivors now living in Wales to come forward

BASW Cymru has endorsed a call for victims and survivors of historical institutional abuse in Northern Ireland, and who are now living in Wales, to come forward and share their experiences with a major inquiry.

The Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry was set up earlier this year by the Northern Ireland Executive, with a remit to investigate child abuse which occurred in residential institutions in Northern Ireland over a 73-year period up to 1995.

To date, 281 potential witnesses have made formal applications to participate in the Inquiry and 157 witnesses have already been interviewed. They have identified 35 separate residential homes and other locations where they allege that abuse or neglect took place.

Among those to share their experiences to date, 43 individuals have come forward from Great Britain, but most of those who have approached the Inquiry still live in Northern Ireland.
The Inquiry is now anxious to encourage more survivors who now live in Wales to get in touch. 

Applicants have the option of giving testimony solely to the Acknowledgement Forum, if they prefer not to participate in the public inquiry process. Most have so far opted to give evidence to both the Forum and the public inquiry.

The Inquiry is offering to meet the travel expenses of those who need to give their testimony in person. If a sufficient number of witnesses come forward from Wales, the Inquiry will consider travelling there to hear their evidence.

The Inquiry is scheduled to complete its work by 2015, and to submit its report to the Northern Ireland Executive by January 2016. Potential witnesses are urged to contact the Inquiry as soon as possible to help ensure that this timetable can be met.

In addition to making findings of fact on the scale, nature and impact of abuse, the Inquiry is also tasked with making recommendations on the steps which might be taken to help meet the needs and wishes of survivors.

Survivors of childhood abuse in Northern Ireland institutions and any other potential witnesses who wish to contact the Inquiry should visit the Inquiry’s website at: www.hiainquiry.org  or contact the Inquiry on the following Freephone number: 0800 068 4935.