Request to extend child abuse inquiry

Request to extend child abuse inquiry

Sir Anthony Hart, the chairman of Northern Ireland's public inquiry into historical institutional child abuse, has requested a one-year extension to his work.

Stormont's first and deputy first ministers said that Sir Hart made a persuasive and compelling case and will recommend that the Executive agrees to lengthen the investigation.The treatment of young people, orphaned or taken away from their unmarried mothers, in houses run by religious orders or the state is a key concern of the retired High Court judge's government requested probe which is being held in Banbridge, Co Down.The panel is considering cases between 1922, the foundation of the Northern Ireland state, and 1995.Open oral testimony is due to finish in one year's time.A statement from NI's leaders, First Minister Peter Robinson and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, said that they did not "underestimate the complexities of dealing with institutional abuse."It read: "We must ensure that the inquiry provides every opportunity for those impacted by the allegations of institutional abuse to be heard in an open forum."Sir Anthony Hart made a very persuasive and compelling case for a one year extension to the timeframe."The panel has to decide whether children might have been physically or sexually abused or emotionally harmed through humiliation. Harm may also include simple neglect, not feeding or clothing people properly.The inquiry has heard a litany of allegations from former residents at Londonderry homes run by Sisters of Nazareth nuns, including that children were made to eat their own vomit and bathe in disinfectant.Witnesses told public hearings earlier this year that they were beaten for bedwetting and had soiled sheets placed on their heads to humiliate them.The inquiry team is due to report to the Executive by the start of 2016.CHAR(13) + CHAR(10)


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