Public hearings of an inquiry into child abuse at Northern Ireland residential homes have ended after two-and-a-half years.
Hundreds of vulnerable former residents have made deeply personal and harrowing claims of sexual, physical and emotional suffering over many decades in care homes run by the church and state as well as the Barnardo’s children’s charity.
Retired judge Sir Anthony Hart and two other members of the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) Inquiry will prepare a report for Stormont ministers within six months.
They are expected to recommend financial compensation be paid.
Sir Anthony said: “We hope that our work and the work of our colleagues who conducted the private and confidential hearings of the acknowledgement forum has helped in some degree to ease the pain and distress suffered for so long by so many of those former residents who came forward to help us by telling us and through us the wider community in Northern Ireland and elsewhere of their experiences in residential homes and other institutions.”