Victims and Survivors Consultation Forum

In keeping with one of the guiding principles of the Truth Recovery Design Panel’s, ‘Mother and Baby Institutions, Magdalene Laundries and Workhouses in Northern Ireland – Truth, Acknowledgement and Accountability’ Report, and to ensure central involvement of, and accountability to, victims-survivors and relatives, in November 2021, The Executive Office established a Consultation Forum as a mechanism for ensuring consultation and active participation of victims-survivors in all aspects of the process. 

The Consultation Forum functions as a collaborative accountability mechanism to ensure that victims-survivors are central to full implementation of the Report’s recommendations and are kept fully up to date with relevant progress.

The overarching recommendations of the Report are:


There are also a series of 77 supporting sub-recommendations, all of which should be implemented in full.

Forum Membership

The Forum is made up of those victim-survivors and their relatives, who can either be directly, or in some cases, are representatives of those with lived experience of Mother and Baby Institutions, Magdalene Laundries, Workhouses and their related pathways and practices, in NI. This includes those living in NI and the Diaspora.

Members with a registered impairment may be accompanied to meetings by an adult supporter, if necessary, to ensure full participation and representation – they should not be there to express their own views, but to help the primary member.

Forum Meetings

The meetings are held monthly, and to ensure participation of victims-survivors not currently residing in NI, the majority of meetings take place via ZOOM, however, when feasible some meetings take place in person and use a hybrid format to ensure continued participation of those not living in NI.

The meetings have a collaborative agenda, with each meeting lasting approximately 2 hours. Meetings are chaired by an Independent Chairperson and are conducted on the basis of confidentiality, respect and inclusivity.


Avila Kilmurray is the Independent Chairperson of the Consultation Forum and is primarily responsible for facilitating meetings and ensuring that they run effectively and productively in support of the overarching Purpose, Aims and Objectives of the Programme.


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Forum Members Feedback on the Consultation Forum

"As the full sibling of an adoptee, I joined the Truth Recovery Programme in search of truth and answers for my late brother, our Mum and Dad, and wider family. My brother was born in a private nursing home, and adopted by coercion in 1971. We reunited as a family in 2001. The Truth Recovery Programme continues to be a vital part of a journey of discovery, support and knowledge sharing."

"I would love to see more mothers in the Forum. There is currently a shortfall and we need to be more representative."

“My name is Paul and I was born In Marianville mother & baby home Belfast. My mum had just turned 18. I was taken away when I was 18 days old. In later years I found out my mum died in tragic circumstances aged 29. I will never see her again. The feeling of abandonment has shaped my life irreversibly. Whatever attachment was made during pregnancy and in those few days that I was with her, whatever words I heard, whatever smile I saw, whatever gentle stroke I received, whatever smell I smelt, whatever it was, that small amount of time and contact with my mother has stayed with me, all of my life. I know some victims & survivors will resonate with this because I have met so many others who feel the same way as I do. Only we can truly understand each other and the uniqueness of us can only be realised by walking in our shoes. I reach out in solidarity for others to come and join us. Together let us shape the truth & justice we all deserve. Let us be the voice for the voiceless, the strength for those too traumatised to speak. Together we are stronger.”

“The consequences of what happened to Birth Mothers in the NI Mother and Baby Institutions are like ripples in a pond spreading through the generations in ever increasing circles. Everyone's voice deserves to be heard. The Birth Mothers, their children now adults that were adopted, fostered, placed in Children's Homes or boarded out deserve a place at the table. We must not forget those that are no longer with us. We must speak for them. For too long we have lived in the shadows and our voices were silenced. Now is the time to engage in the Truth Recovery process and let all our voices be heard. Alone we can achieve a little, together we can achieve a lot.”

Have you or a family member been impacted by a Mother and Baby Institution, Magdalene Laundry, Workhouse or other related Institutions in Northern Ireland, or, impacted by historical adoption pathways and practices, and would like to join the Consultation Forum, please complete the form below.