A confidential forum established as part of the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry will stop accepting applications at the end of April.
The Acknowledgement Forum has thus far interviewed 308 people who say they suffered childhood abuse or neglect in one of the Northern Ireland institutions covered by the Inquiry’s terms of reference between 1922 and 1995.
Speaking this morning, the Chairman of the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry, Sir Anthony Hart announced April 30 at 5pm as the closing date for applications to the Forum.
“It is necessary to bring the Acknowledgment Forum application process to a close to facilitate the Forum informing the work of the Statutory Inquiry.
“The 30th April 2014 has been chosen as the latest possible date that will allow the Forum to see everyone who wishes to speak to it, and at the same time allow it enough time to prepare its report.”
The Forum sits on a regular basis in Belfast and in Derry, and elsewhere as necessary.
Each applicant normally speaks to two Panel members. The meeting provides applicants with the time to talk of their experiences while in residential childcare. They are supported in doing so in a sympathetic way. The Forum will ensure that applicants are heard in a room which is comfortable, private and safe.
Applications can be requested from the Inquiry helpline 0800 068 4935 or downloaded from the Inquiry’s website www.hiainqiury.org and returned electronically to general@hiainqu
The Inquiry has already heard from former residents of children’s homes run by the Sisters of Nazareth in Derry.