ALMOST 20 per cent of the victims who have contacted the Inquiry into Historical Institutional Abuse in Northern Ireland are from the North West, it’s been revealed.
Today the Chairman of the Inquiry, Sir Anthony Hart, will be in Londonderry to renew his appeal asking those who suffered abuse to come forward.
A public presentation will be held at 11am this morning (Wednesday, February 27) in the Everglades Hotel, Prehen Road, Londonderry.
At the presentation, Sir Anthony, will review the Inquiry’s work to date, and outline his plans for the Inquiry’s investigation.
To date, nearly one in five of those who have contacted the Inquiry have been from the North West (i.e. those who now live in the ‘north west’ area which includes Londonderry, Strabane, Limavady and Donegal).
The Inquiry is tasked with investigating historical childhood abuse which took place at residential institutions in Northern Ireland which fall within the Inquiry’s terms of reference.
So far, 35 different sites have been identified as ones which may potentially be the subject of the Inquiry’s investigation.
Institutions which provided residential care for children between 1922 and 1995, with the exception of schools, other than training schools and borstals, fall under the remit of the Inquiry.
The Inquiry is keen to hear from victims and survivors, and other potential witnesses, whether they are living in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland or elsewhere.
One of the three members of the statutory Inquiry’s Panel, working alongside Sir Anthony, is Geraldine Doherty, who was born in and grew up in Londonderry.
She has had a long and distinguished career in the practice and regulation of social work in England and Scotland.
A spokesperson for the Inquiry said: “Sir Anthony wishes to ensure that as many victims and survivors as possible in the North West are made aware of the existence of the Inquiry, and of the steps which the Inquiry is taking to try to address the fears of those who may be worried about lifting the telephone to talk to the Inquiry.
“The Inquiry appreciates that, for many victims and survivors, recounting their experiences can be very painful and traumatic. We hope that today’s presentation and our promotional campaign will encourage potential witnesses to come forward.”
Application forms can be downloaded from the website www.hiainquiry.org or requested by calling the Inquiry helpline on Freephone 0800 068 4935.
The Inquiry is tasked with completing its work by January 2015 and will continue to hear testimonies once the Inquiry’s public hearings have got underway.
The Inquiry states that Londonderry native, Ms Dohery has wide experience of social work, social care practice, education and training in both England and Scotland.
In 1996, she was appointed as the Head of the Central Council for Education and Training in Social Work in Scotland.
In 2002, she was appointed as the first Registrar of the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC).