The Northern Ireland Executive has announced major steps forward on investigations into mother and baby home institutions and Magdalene Laundries within the six counties.
Stormont ministers have accepted all recommendations in the Truth Recovery Design Panel's (TRDP) report, including the establishment of an integrated truth investigation made up of an expert independent panel and a public inquiry.
The TRDP also called for a redress and reparation scheme for all victims of mother and baby homes and Magdalene Laundries in Northern Ireland in addition to the introduction of measures to ensure that victims have access to relevant records.
The report has called for the introduction of a statutory duty to compel the relevant institutions, adoption-related bodies, and baby homes to preserve and not destroy relevant records.
The TDRP report also called on the Stormont Assembly to secure funding and cooperation from the Irish Government in relation to cross-border issues, including forced adoptions.
The integrated truth investigation will examine the practices within Magdalene Laundries, mother and baby homes, and workhouses over several decades in addition to the experiences of women and children who lived there.
An academic report released earlier this year by Queen's University Belfast and Ulster University found that up to 14,000 women and children lived in a mother and baby home, Magdalene Laundry, and other institutions between 1926 and 1990.
The academic report found that women were mistreated, held against their will, and forced to give their children up for adoption.
The Northern Ireland Executive thanked the TRDP and all victims and survivors who worked alongside them to develop the report and recommendations.
First Minister Paul Givan said that it was an "important day for victims and survivors of mother and baby institutions and Magdalene Laundries".
"The experiences of women and girls in these institutions, and what has happened to them and their children in the years since, is deeply troubling. The testimony of victims and survivors exposes appalling treatment as well as the deep pain and trauma that has been caused by these shameful practices," Givan said in a statement to the Northern Ireland Assembly.
Deputy First Minister and Sinn Féin Vice President Michelle O'Neill said that it was a "defining moment" for survivors and victims.
"This is a defining moment for victims and survivors of mother and baby institutions and Magdalene Laundries, who are now one step closer to getting the truth that has been denied to them for decades," O'Neill said.
O'Neill said that work would begin immediately to establish a consultative forum to perform the groundwork for the necessary legislation for the inquiry, financial redress, and the preservation of records.
Health Minister Robin Swann said that the TRDP was established to address some of the most "horrendous and truly shameful events in the history of Northern Ireland".
"We are now about to enter the next phase of work and the Department of Health stands ready to fully play its part in the next steps collectively agreed by the Executive," Swann said.
"There are a number of recommendations for us to take forward and we will implement them without delay and continue to engage victims-survivors as we do."
Several different departments and public bodies will be involved in the implementation of the panel's recommendations, which will be led by the Executive Office.