HC Deb 19 December 2000 vol 360 c122W
Mr. Hesford

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement about Government programmes for the support of victims in Northern Ireland. [142810]

Mr. Ingram

The Government have put in place a number of programmes of support in line with the recommendations in Sir Kenneth Bloomfield's report "We Will Remember Them", which considered ways of recognising and acknowledging the suffering of those who have become victims of events in Northern Ireland during the last 30 years. To date over £6.25 million has been allocated to programmes and further significant funding will be made available from April 2001, which in total will represent a substantial package aimed at alleviating the financial hardships and suffering inflicted on many by violence during the Troubles.

Initiatives that have been put in place include: The establishment of a Family Trauma Centre for young people, and their families, affected by the Troubles. The Centre provides a comprehensive therapeutic service to families experiencing trauma and aims to meet the psychological needs of families and individuals who have been affected by the Troubles; A £225,000 Victim Support Grant Scheme for groups and organisations with proposals to take forward recommendations in the Bloomfield Report. This fund was administered by the Community Relations Council and closed on 31 March 2000; The establishment of the Northern Ireland Memorial Fund, which is an independent charitable fund that provides assistance to victims and their families through practical means. The fund which is chaired by Professor George Bain, Vice Chancellor of the Queen's University of Belfast, has received £2 million from the Government. To date it has launched three schemes—a Small Grants Scheme, a Respite Break Pilot Scheme and a Chronic Pain Management Scheme; An educational Bursary Pilot Scheme for individuals whose education was directly affected by the Troubles. Over 500 applications were received with 352 individuals who met the criteria being offered bursaries totalling just over £300,000; The independent review of Criminal Injuries Compensation for Northern Ireland. The Government accepted the majority of the recommendations made by the review team and in addition, but outside the remit of the new compensation theme, will make a significant amount of funding available from April 2001 for the implementation of the Bloomfield Report "We Will Remember Them", and payments of up to £10,000 for the families of the disappeared; The establishment of the Core Funding for Victims/Survivors Groups Grant Scheme providing £3 million for core funding to victims groups for an initial period of two years from 2000–01. This fund is administered by the Northern Ireland Voluntary Trust and to date over £2.1 million has been allocated to groups; A capacity building programme for those working with victims of the Troubles has also been developed. The programme will help to train those who work with victims so that they are able to deal effectively with the issues which arise for victims and victims groups. The programme is co-sponsored by the Victims Liaison Unit, the Northern Ireland Voluntary Trust and the Community Relations Council. Research. The Government have supported research including financial support of up to £40,000 to the Community Conflict Impact on Children Project.