The UK’s biggest child abuse inquiry begins public hearings

Northern Ireland's Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry has started hearing evidence

The UK’s biggest ever child abuse inquiry has begun holding public hearings in Northern Ireland.

The Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry is investigating allegations of child abuse in 13 Northern Irish care homes, orphanages and other residential institutions from 1922 to 1995.

The inquiry will also examine how 120 children from the relevant institutions were sent to Australia between 1947 and 1956.

More than 400 people have informed the inquiry that they were abused.

The public evidence hearings are expected to take 18 months to complete and more than 300 witnesses are due to testify.

The inquiry’s remit is to establish whether there were “systemic failings by institutions or the state in their duties towards those children in their care”.

The Northern Ireland Executive set up the inquiry after the 2009 Ryan Report into child abuse within Catholic institutions in the Republic of Ireland sparked a campaign for a similar investigation in Northern Ireland that was backed by thousands of people.

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