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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


What is the Truth Recovery Co-Design Process?

On 26 January 2021, the Northern Ireland Executive agreed to the publication of the research report it had commissioned on the operation of historical Mother and Baby Homes and Magdalene Laundries in Northern Ireland.

The research report can be accessed via the link – RESEARCH REPORT, CLICK HERE

The Executive agreed to a recommendation made by the Inter-Departmental Working Group to undertake a victim/survivor-centred independent investigation, co-designed with victims and survivors, to provide detailed recommendations for an official investigation/inquiry.

It was agreed that the co-design process would be expertly facilitated and Prof Phil Scraton, Dr Maeve O Rourke and Ms Deirdre Mahon were appointed to work with victims/ survivors and their families. (Read about the Panel here)

The Terms of Reference for Truth Recovery Process can be found here (Click on this link for TERMS OF REFERENCE).

What does Co-Design mean?

This is a unique process. Recommendations made by the Panel to the Northern Ireland Executive will be determined by the questions the victims/survivors/ their families want answered. The Panel’s recommendations must be, and will be, guided by the victims and survivors.

How will the Panel involve participants in the process?

The Panel will create both a written and video-recorded presentation outlining options for an investigation/inquiry framework and the key questions to provide a framework for written submissions or for listening sessions with victims/ survivors/ their families. For further information see: Listening Sessions and Response form of the Ethical Protocol (Click Here for the ETHICAL PROTOCOL).


How do I register my interest?

To register interest call:

0300 0200 789 to provide details

Or email: and a Register of Interest Form will be emailed for completion on-line

Or by via the website: and clicking on the link.

If I live outside Northern Ireland can I still register?

Yes, we want to hear from as many victims and survivors as possible.

What if my Birth Mother is deceased, can I still register?


Can I register interest on behalf of a relative?

Yes, with their permission please share their views/ideas.

Can I talk to someone for more information before registering?

Yes, please call 0300 0200789.

Where can I access a Registration of Interest Form? and a form will be emailed to you for completion, or via the website and clicking on link.


What happens after I register?

You will be invited to give your views in writing, in person or as part of a group. Your views will contribute to the eventual recommendations. The Panel will seek participants’ consent before taking notes of one-to-one interviews or group discussions; see Gathering Information Section in Ethical Protocol (Click Here for the ETHICAL PROTOCOL).

Filling in the Questionnaire – to clarify for some questions asked?

1. You do not have to fill in the questionnaire alone. The Panel are very happy to do that with you, in the form of a semi-structured interview. Please let us know if you would like to do individually or as part of a group, over the phone or on a zoom call?

2. Many are asking about the presentation that Phil and Maeve are doing. They are researching all the options and will have that ready soon. You can wait to fill in the Questionnaire until after you have viewed the presentation if that is what you want.

3. There is no rush to fill in the Questionnaire. Take your time. You have until the end of June 2021 before submitting your completed questionnaire.

Will I be contacted by the Panel members?

You will be invited to give your views in writing, in person or in groups. You will be contacted by Panel members only should they require any further details or any clarification.

You will also receive emails updating you on progress. Updates will be on the website

What if I withdraw after registering interest or after submitting my views?

This will be your decision entirely. You can change your mind or withdraw involvement at any time. If you decide to withdraw please let the team know:

Telephone 0300 0200 789


I am worried about registering and what it means for me

If you are worried about registering, the Panel support team or the Chair of the Panel will be available to discuss your concerns.  Support is also available via Victims Support Service.

What support is available now?

The Panel recognizes that participation in this process is likely to cause upset or harm and as part of their duty of care have set up a specialist confidential counselling service. If you or your family need this specialist support go to Victims Support Service.

When will the co-design report be published?

The Panel is due to provide their Final Report to the Northern Ireland Executive by end of September 2021. Its recommendations will be published.

What happens once Report and Recommendations have been published?

This will be for the Northern Ireland Executive to decide.

What is the relationship between UU/QUB Research project and Truth Recovery Process?

There is no direct relationship between the UU/QUB research project and the Truth Recovery Process. However, the UU/QUB research provides a highly significant contribution to our understanding of the context and circumstances in which Mother and Baby Homes and Magdalene Laundries functioned between 1922 and 1990. We have held meetings with members of the project team and will continue to correspond as necessary.

If I give my oral history testimony to the UU/QUB researchers can it be used as part of a public inquiry or investigation?

Evidence given orally to a statutory public inquiry is given under oath and subject to cross-examination by lawyers representing the interest of all parties to the inquiry. Therefore, your oral history given to the UU/QUB researchers could not take the place of sworn evidence before a statutory public inquiry. 

If you have made a statement in which you are identifiable in any public forum (media coverage; broadcast documentaries; UU/QUB research) prior to an inquiry, most probably it will be scrutinized by the legal teams with a view to establishing whether there are any inconsistencies between the initial statement and that given orally to an inquiry. It is to be expected that lawyers will read all documents and statements that are publicly available.

When evidence is given to a public inquiry it is cross-examined by lawyers representing all individuals or organisations who the Chair agrees have a significant interest in the case. If public statements have been made previously for other purposes, they are not under oath. At a subsequent inquiry it is to be expected that lawyers representing individuals or organisations will question witnesses under oath on their previous statements. 

Could the oral history testimony which I gave to the UU/QUB researchers be used by a non-statutory inquiry or Independent Panel?

In any process where testimony is taken without cross-examination (in other words, in a process which is not a statutory public inquiry), it is possible that you could use your previous testimony to the UU/QUB researchers as the basis for what you contribute to a further process. For example, you might choose to read from your previous testimony or to send a copy of your previous written testimony. 


How will you use the information that I provide?

Your personal information will be used only for the purposes of this process and to enable the Panel to formulate recommendations to be presented to the Northern Ireland Executive.  Confidentiality is explained in the Ethical Protocol including exemptions. (Click Here for the ETHICAL PROTOCOL).

Will my information be kept confidential?

Information you provide to the Panel team will be confidential. Should technical difficulties arise and there is a need to access ICT support, please consult the Data Security section in the Ethical Protocol (Click Here). For more information about your rights as a data subject, please see the Panel’s Privacy Notice here – Click Here for Privacy Notice

Does it matter that the institution with which I was involved, is not listed/named?

If the Institution is not listed please email its details to: 

Where can I access the list of institutions under consideration?

The list of institutions being considered can be found on the website:

Will I be consulted about the Panel’s recommendations?

From the mass of evidence received via meetings or written submissions, the Panel will draft key findings and invite those who gave evidence to review the findings and make further submissions should they wish.

Will there be a Public Inquiry?

The outcome will not be known until completion of the co-design process and the presentation of recommendations to the Northern Ireland Executive.

How can I access my records ?

Health and Social Care Trusts will enable people to access their records.


Western Health and Social Care Trust – 02871314235/028 8283 5114

Belfast Health and Social Care Trust – 028 95040350

South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust – 028 91270672

Southern Health and Social Care Trust – 028 37566125

Northern Health and Social Care Trust – 028 9331 5111/028 25635110

Northern Ireland Adoption and Foster Care – 0800 0720 137

Registered Adoption Agencies

Family Care Adoption Services – 028 9069 1133

Adoption NI-

Can’t Find answer to your question?

Contact us: – Click Here for Contact Details for the Truth Recovery Panel.