Guidance for applicants

The Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) Redress Board wants the procedure for processing applications for compensation to be as simple as possible. You will find an overview of the process set out below. We advise all applicants to read the full procedural guidance and review the checklists for submitting an application before starting an application for compensation. 

You can instruct a solicitor to act on your behalf. The Redress Board will pay all costs and expenses. Full details can be found on the legal advice and support section of this website.

Eligibility criteria

You can apply for compensation if you can answer ‘yes’ to both, or either, of the following statements:

  • I suffered abuse while a child and resident in an institution in Northern Ireland for a period of time between 1922 and 1995 inclusive: and/or
  • I was sent to Australia under the Child Migrant Programme.

You can apply on behalf of someone who died on, or after, 28 April 1953 if you are the deceased persons:

  • surviving spouse;
  • civil partner;
  • cohabiting partner;
  • surviving child - if that person is a residual beneficiary of the deceased’s estate.

What you can apply for 

The Historical Institutional Abuse (Northern Ireland) Act 2019 sets out the amounts of compensation that the Redress Board can award. These amounts are:

  1. A standard award payment of £10,000 only;
  2. An enhanced award payment of between £10,001 and £80,000; and
  3. An amount of £20,000 if the application is made by or in respect of a person who was sent to Australia under the Child Migrant Programme.

How you can apply

You can make an application for compensation:

  • via an online portal (initially only for those who have instructed a solicitor);
  • by downloading an application form;
  • by requesting a hard copy application form.

If you provided evidence to the Hart Inquiry, you do not have to provide any further evidence unless you wish to do so.

Full details can be found on the make an application section of this website.

How we will process your application

Verification Process

We will check the application form to ensure that you have provided all the information and supporting documentation that is required. We will advise you if any information is missing and ask you to send it promptly.

We will notify the body, society or organisation involved that you have submitted an application. They will be asked to confirm that the information you have provided is correct. They will also be asked to advise the Redress Board if compensation has already been paid to you in respect of the matters contained within your application. They can also submit further written information.

Once we have all of the information needed, we will advise you and/or your legal representative that your application is ready for determination. Your legal representative will be asked to provide details of any expenses incurred. You can find full details in the costs and expenses protocol.

Determination Process

The Redress Board can prioritise the order in which applications are processed, based on the age and health of the applicant.

Applications will be considered by paper determination by a three person panel consisting of a judicial member and two non-judicial members from a health and social care background. The judicial member will chair the panel.

The panel will consider all of the information you have provided. The panel will give due regard to the findings of the Hart Inquiry if the body, society or organisation formed part of that inquiry.

In exceptional circumstances, the panel may direct that an oral hearing takes place. Further information in relation to this process is found in the oral hearing guidance.

Determination Notice and Appeals Process

We will notify you and/or your legal representative in writing of the panel’s decision. You will have 21 days from the date of issue to decide whether or not to accept the award.

If you decide to accept the award, you must provide details of the bank account you wish the award to be paid in to.

If you decide not to accept the award, you have the right to appeal the determination. A single judicial member will determine the appeal. The judicial member can uphold the original decision, reverse the decision, or increase or reduce the award of the panel. A decision on appeal is final.