Sugden pays tribute to HIA abuse victims

Date published: 20 January 2017

Justice Minister Clare Sugden has paid tribute to the work of the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry and in particular to the victims who came forward to give evidence.

Minister Claire Sugden said ‘We owe a debt of gratitude to every single person who spoke before the Inquiry. They suffered horrendous abuse at the hands of those who should have been caring for them, and when they tried to speak out   were branded as liars – in many many cases this denial continued for decades. 

“Those who have come forward to tell their stories to the inquiry have shown great courage not only for themselves but on behalf of the many, unnamed and unacknowledged, others who felt unable to come forward, or sadly have not lived to do so. 

“I totally condemn any act of abuse perpetrated against any child in an institution. Those who were placed in these institutions trusted they would be cared for with dignity and respect, treated compassionately and protected from abuse. For many that trust was misplaced.

“Although this abuse took place a long time ago, the Department of Justice operates zero tolerance around child abuse and continually reviews its policies in respect of child protection. The findings of the HIA enquiry report  are being carefully examined and new lessons emerging from the work of the Inquiry will be acted upon. Caring properly for young people within the justice system is at the heart of a civilised society and the Department of Justice does not hesitate to fulfil its role in this area”

Minister Sugden also recognised the magnitude of the task undertaken by the HIAI Chair, Sir Anthony Hart and his colleagues and commended the professionalism of the team and its valuable work, particularly the ground-breaking initiative of the Acknowledgment Forum.

Notes to editors: 

All media enquires should be directed to the Department of Justice Press Office 028 9052 6139. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07623 974383 and your call will be returned.

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