Over the last few years, I have had the privilege of campaigning and standing strong with Mags McGuckian, SAVIA NI and the countless survivors and victims of historical abuse – people who have suffered horrendous physical, emotional, sexual abuse in homes and institutions.
They are a remarkable and courageous group people from across NI.
They have kept on campaigning when inside they are broken. They pretend to be normal when they are suffering every day. They stay strong for each other even though they are vulnerable and hurting.
Two years after the publication of the Justice Hart Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) Inquiry recommendations, which proposed compensation and redress, survivors and victims have been in the High Court for three days to try to get the Secretary of State and Northern Ireland Office to implement the Hart recommendations.
It is a scandal that since the Hart Report was published, in January 2017, at least 30 victims and survivors have died without getting redress.
It is heartbreaking to listen to Kate who speaks so lovingly about her dear mother who was abused in a home.
It is devastating to discover that her 89 year-old-mum now has dementia and the only words and memories she speaks of today is from her horrendous experience of abuse in that home.
She is a frightened old lady with a loving family who sadly relives her nightmare day in day out.
This is not fair. It is not right. It is plainly wrong.
Survivors and victims’ should not be stripped of their dignity.
They need and deserve justice now and the Secretary of State should implement the Hart proposals in full now.
Tim Attwood, SDLP councillor, West Belfast