A Northern Ireland investigation into abuse within its state-supervised children's homes is appealing for victims living abroad, chiefly in North America and Australia, to provide testimony so that the full scope of trauma can be documented.

The Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry already has received abuse complaints from 271 former residents of about 35 orphanages and state-funded homes where children allegedly suffered sexual or physical harm during the 1922-1995 period.

Most testimony so far has come from people living in Britain or Ireland. But investigators believe many hundreds of former residents have made their homes in the United States, Canada and Australia and want to hear their stories.

The lead investigator, Sir Anthony Hart, said Monday his fact-finding team would travel overseas to collect testimony or fly witnesses to Belfast.