Break Your Silence Before It Is Too Late – on 17th September

In less than one month, on the 16th September, it will be the last day the Residential Institutions Redress Board will accept applications from victims of residential abuse in state institutions.  Initially, the closing date for applications to the Board was 15th December 2005.  Since then, in exceptional circumstances, an extension of the time period is permitted to allow “late applications”.

In order to qualify for an award, under the Redress Board, a victim of residential abuse must prove his or her identity, that s/he was a minor while resident in a scheduled state institution, that/she was injured while resident and that the injury is consistent with the allegations made.  “A significant difference between the Redress Board and Court is that it requires a much lower burden of proof.  Once it is decided that you are entitled to redress the Board may offer you a settlement.” said John M. Lynch, Managing Partner at Lynch and Partners Solicitors.  “If you decide to go ahead with a hearing it is as informal as possible.  The structure of the Board reflects the fact that these are extremely sensitive matters and that there is a duty on the State to pay compensation.”  He continued.

The board has received approximately 15,000 applications since it first began in 2002.  The vast majority of these cases were concluded with approximately 5% resulting in refusal, withdrawal or no compensation awarded.  At the end of June 2011 the average amount of compensation awarded was €63,000, with 13% receiving between €100,000 and €150,000 and 2% awarded between €150,000 and €300,000.  The amount of compensation awarded depends on the extent of the abuse and the injury suffered, whether physical or psychological.  As well as awards for compensation the Board covers all reasonable medical and legal costs and expenses.

In July of this year the Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairi Quinn, TD, on announcing that the Residential Institutions Redress Board will not accept applications on or after 17th September 2011, said “The work of the redress board is a cornerstone of the response to the appalling and shocking reality of abuse suffered by so many of our citizens who as children were resident in the scheduled residential institutions.”

For victims who have not submitted applications to the Redress Board break your silence now because on 17th September 2011 your opportunity to do so will have passed.

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