Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Questions (201)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

201. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Education and Skills his role in relation to the provision of supports and compensation to victims of institutional abuse; his plans to fulfil outstanding obligations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14009/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The Residential Institutions Redress Board provides compensation to those who suffered abuse as children in residential institutions. The independent Board makes awards in accordance with the framework set out in Towards Redress and Recovery, the report of the independent compensation advisory committee which advised on the appropriate levels of compensation. By the end of 2013, the Board had made 15,103 awards with an average award value of €62,496 and the largest being €300,500, resulting in an overall cost of the Redress Scheme of some €1.2 billion.

These arrangements have provided survivors of institutional child abuse with a mechanism by which they could obtain fair and reasonable financial compensation for abuses suffered, without the necessity to pursue long and often traumatic cases via the court system.

Conscious that many survivors continue to suffer the effects of the abuse suffered as children and in keeping with the unanimous Dáil motion, the Government agreed to establish the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund to utilise the €110 million cash contributions, pledged by the congregations, to support the needs of survivors. Supports across a range of services, including mental health services, health and personal social services, education and housing services will be available. The Fund, which uses the service name Caranua, published its criteria and guidelines and commenced accepting applications in January of this year. Further information regarding Caranua's services is available on its website www.caranua.ie.

My Department continues to fund the Origins Family Tracing Service operated by Barnardos for former residents wishing to trace family members with whom they have lost contact. Survivors can also avail of the National Counselling Service operated by the Health Service Executive which offers counselling and psychotherapy services to those who have experienced trauma and abuse in childhood with priority given to survivors of institutional abuse.