A Derry victim of institutional abuse has appealed to other victims and survivors to register to take part in the inquiry which is set to begin next week.
Jon McCourt from Survivors and Victims of Institutional Abuse (SAVIA) made the call after it was announced that the first phase of the inquiry into historical and institutional abuse will begin on October 1.
The inquiry will look into the abuse of children in both state and church-run residential homes in the North.
The first phase will involve an ‘acknowledgement forum’ where victims and survivors will have the opportunity to share their experiences. The second phase will involve a statutory inquiry which will have the power to compel witnesses.
Mr McCourt welcomed the announcement and said it is the culmination of a long campaign. “The acknowledgement forum will be an opportunity for people to share their experiences of any institution. It will inform the inquiry proper and will help identify trends, patterns and types of abuse that were prevalent.
“Some people may decide that they do not want to go through a formal inquiry but they will be able to share their experiences of and that will inform the process,” he said.
Mr McCourt encouraged anyone affected by institutional abuse to get involved. “I would urge anyone, particularly those in Derry, to get involved in this process.
“We could be talking about 200 people in Derry and Donegal. To take part people will need to register and they can do that from October 1 when the inquiry goes live,” he said.
From October 5 WAVE Trauma Centres in Derry and Belfast will provide, each Friday morning, a room with refreshments and where a trained counsellor will be on site, to support victims if required. For more information contact 0800 0684935.