Historical Abuse Solicitors

Historical Abuse Claims

Historical abuse can take many forms, but it has become infamous in Ireland in recent years following investigations into institutional abuse in churches, schools, care homes and similar institutions. If you are a victim of such abuse, we are here to help.

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The brave testimony of victims of historical abuse has been pivotal in exposing both the perpetrators of the abuse and those who helped to cover it up. Reports of sexual and physical abuse are most common and have caused significant trauma to victims.

In Northern Ireland, the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIA) studied allegations of abuse in 22 homes and other residential institutions between 1922 to 1995. These were facilities run by the state, local authorities, the Catholic Church, the Church of Ireland and the children’s charity Barnardo’s. The Inquiry lasted from 2014-2016 and was instrumental in uncovering systematic abuse.

Historical abuse in the Republic of Ireland has essentially taken the same form in that it was facilitated by the Catholic Church, schools, local authorities and other state run institutions.

At P.A Duffy & Co Solicitors, we represent victims of all types of historical abuse in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Our human rights team are experienced, understanding and sympathetic and will work tirelessly on your behalf to bring justice to you for what has happened.

How We Can Help

Our expert human rights solicitors have a high level of expertise in this area and can advise you on the best approach to take based on the circumstances of your case.

In cases of this nature victims of historical abuse are often in a position where they were owed a duty of care by the institution in which the abuse took place. In these cases, our solicitors will advise you that a claim can be made against a particular institution for breaching this duty. Breach of duty can be alleged in relation to an institutions failure to identify or investigate mistreatment of those under their care.

More victims of historical abuse are coming forward in recent years due to the uncovering of various examples of institutional abuse across Ireland. Our solicitors offer confidential and professional advice on the options available to victims and will take all necessary steps to hold perpetrators of abuse to account.

Contact us for an initial enquiry. We will discuss the funding options which are available to our client’s, including Legal Aid, legal expenses cover and private paying.


What Legal Action can be Taken?

Victims of historical abuse have a number of options in relation to legal action. The most appropriate form of action will depend on the specific circumstances of each case.

  1. HIA Redress Scheme – An application can be made to the Historical Institutional Redress Scheme if you attended an institution which falls within the threshold of the scheme. Our expert solicitors can assist you with processing the application and providing the scheme with relevant information in order to adequately assess your application. Please note this scheme will close in 2025 and applicants are encouraged to get in touch.

  2. Criminal Action – In order to take criminal action against the perpetrator(s) of abuse you would have to make a complaint to the police. The police would then investigate the matter and ultimately the Public Prosecution Service would make the decision on whether to prosecute. There is a high evidential threshold in criminal cases and the prosecution would be required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the offences alleged.

  3. Civil Action – a claim for compensation can be made in respect of any pain, suffering, loss of amenity, medical expenses, treatment costs or any loss incurred as a result of being subjected to abuse. Victims can also bring claims against institutions or organisations who covered up abuse or who failed to take appropriate action to identify and prevent the abuse.

  4. Public Inquiry – The purpose of a public inquiry is to investigate wrongdoing, to identify who was at fault and to ensure it does not happen again. One of the most positive aspects of a public inquiry is that it encourages victims to tell their stories, and this often helps to identify perpetrators. There has already been a public inquiry into historical institutional abuse which investigated institutional abuse from 1922-1995 and published its findings in 2017. There has been no such inquiry to date in the Republic of Ireland.

What will I receive compensation for in an historical abuse claim?

In a historical abuse claim, the compensation you may receive can vary depending on several factors, including the nature and severity of the abuse, the jurisdiction in which the claim is filed, and the specific circumstances of your case. Compensation is designed to provide financial redress for the harm and suffering you experienced due to the abuse. Here are some common elements for which you may receive compensation in an historical abuse claim:

  • Pain and Suffering: Compensation is typically awarded for the physical and emotional pain and suffering you endured as a result of the abuse. The amount awarded will depend on the severity and duration of the abuse and its impact on your life.

  • Medical Expenses: You may receive compensation to cover past and future medical expenses related to the abuse. This can include the cost of counselling, therapy and any necessary medical treatments.

  • Loss of Earnings: If the abuse has had a significant impact on your ability to work or has caused you to lose income, you may receive compensation for lost earnings. This can include both past and future earnings that you would have earned had the abuse not occurred.

  • Loss of Enjoyment of Life: Compensation may be provided for the loss of enjoyment of life resulting from the abuse, such as the inability to pursue hobbies or activities you once enjoyed.

  • Legal Costs: In many cases, the legal costs associated with pursuing the historical abuse claim, including lawyer fees and court expenses, can be covered by the defendant if the claim is successful.

  • Punitive Damages: In some jurisdictions, punitive damages may be awarded if the conduct of the abuser or the institution responsible for the abuse is particularly egregious or if they failed to prevent or address the abuse adequately. Punitive damages are intended to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar behaviour in the future.

How can I finance a historical abuse claim?

We know that funding a historical abuse claim might be a worry, so we offer a range of options. These include:

  • Legal Aid

  • Legal Expenses Cover

  • After the Event Insurance (ATE insurance)

  • Private Funding.

We will be happy to discuss funding with you to find the best option for your circumstances.

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Our team of expert solicitors will be happy to assist you with your enquiry without any obligation to use our services. Contact us using your preferred method and we will gratefully assist.
Contact Details
Call Us From Northern Ireland
028 8772 2102Mon-Fri 9am-5pm
Call Us From Republic Of Ireland
01 533 7860Mon-Fri 9am-5pm

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Our Human Rights Solicitors

Conal McGarrityConal McGarrityDirector
Enda McGarrityEnda McGarritySolicitor
Naomi WhiteNaomi WhiteSolicitor
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