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14/08/20 09:39

Redress for Survivors Bill published

Legislation for survivors of historical child abuse in care in Scotland.

Survivors of historical child abuse in care in Scotland will have the opportunity to apply for financial redress payments of up to £80,000 under a proposed new law.

The Redress for Survivors (Historical Child Abuse in Care) (Scotland) Bill seeks to provide tangible recognition of the harm caused to those who were abused as children in relevant residential care settings before 1 December 2004.

The Bill will set up a new independent body, Redress Scotland, to assess applications for financial redress. Survivors can apply for a fixed rate redress payment of £10,000 or an individually assessed redress payment which will involve a more detailed examination of their experience. The individually assessed redress payment levels are set at £20,000, £40,000 or £80,000.

The Bill seeks to establish a financial redress scheme that will be non-adversarial and sensitive to the needs of survivors. It will offer a faster alternative to the civil court process and access to elements of non-financial redress including therapeutic support.

In some circumstances, next of kin of deceased survivors will be able to apply for a redress payment of £10,000.

Financial contributions are being sought by the Scottish Government from those involved in the care of children at the time they were abused.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:

“For decades, many children were failed by the institutions and people entrusted to look after them. Financial redress is an important part of doing what we can to address these failings.

“The Redress for Survivors Bill will acknowledge and provide tangible recognition of harm as a result of historical child abuse in various residential care settings in Scotland. It will provide elements of accountability, justice and financial redress for those who wish to access it. The Bill seeks to put in place a scheme which treats survivors with dignity and respect and which faces up to the past with compassion.

“Survivors of historical abuse in care have campaigned with dedication and perseverance for access to justice, improved accountability, and redress. They deserve to be listened to, heard and believed. This Bill is a tribute to their courage, determination and perseverance to ensure others never have to experience what they did.”

Background

More details on the Redress for Survivors Bill can be viewed at the Scottish Parliament’s website.

The design of Scotland’s statutory redress scheme has been influenced by engagement and consultation with survivors.

The redress scheme is for survivors of historical child abuse in care, where the abuse occurred before 1 December 2004 to a person then aged under 18 years, who was, at the time of the abuse, resident in a relevant care setting in Scotland.

Certain categories of next of kin of deceased survivors will be eligible to apply for the fixed rate redress payment where the survivor died on or after 17 November 2016, the date on which the Deputy First Minister made a statement to Parliament committing to consult on the provision of financial redress to survivors.

 

The Redress for Survivors (Historical Child Abuse in Care) (Scotland) Bill is the latest in a package of measures which have previously been put in place to address historical childhood abuse in care.  These include:

  • the apology on behalf of the Scottish people made by the then First Minister on 1 December 2004, and the apology on behalf of the Scottish Government made by the Deputy First Minister on 23 October 2018
  • the National Confidential Forum, which provides an acknowledgement function for survivors of abuse in care, established by the Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014
  • the establishment of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry in 2015
  • Future Pathways, established in 2016, which provides personal outcome-focussed support to survivors of abuse in care
  • the passing of the Apologies (Scotland) Act 2016, intended to encourage a change in social and cultural attitudes towards apologising
  • the Limitation (Childhood Abuse) (Scotland) Act 2017, which removed the three year time limit on personal injury claims for damages in respect of childhood abuse
  • the establishment of the Advance Payment Scheme introduced in April 2019 for survivors of childhood abuse who are terminally ill or aged 68 or over.