Child abuse review group calls for victim compensation from responsible care providers

Victims of abuse in care are calling for a financial compensation scheme, with contributions from residential care providers, local authorities and religious orders as the “responsible” parties.

A review group set up by the Scottish Government to look at a potential redress scheme for abuse survivors has made 14 recommendations for ministers to consider.

They have been presented to Deputy First Minister John Swinney (pictured) by the InterAction Action Plan Review Group, in partnership with the Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children (CELCIS).

It follows a national consultation with victims, 99% of whom said Yes when asked if a financial compensation scheme should be introduced.

The review said: “Victims/survivors who answered this question consider that all those responsible should contribute, including: Scottish Government, residential and foster care providers, local authorities which placed children in care and those which provided care placements, and religious bodies responsible for care services.”

It states that institutions should contribute to reparation packages “in a manner proportionate to the extent to which they are accountable”.

The review suggests a combination payment, involving a flat-rate standard payment along with an individual experience payment taking account of the severity and consequences of the abuse, among other factors.

It also recommends an advance payment scheme for elderly and ill victims, and that next-of-kin of deceased victims should be eligible to apply.

Chair of the review group, Professor Andrew Kendrick, said: “There has been a clear message from victims/survivors who gave their views in this consultation, and this is an important step in addressing the need for financial compensation/redress.

“Victims/survivors have provided important insights into the complex issues involved and provided significant information on how this could be taken forward.”

The consultation was commissioned in January last year and ended in November.

Among those represented on the review group was The Former Boys and Girls Abused In Quarriers (FBGA).

David Whelan, on behalf of the group, said: “FBGA seek the full implementation of all the recommendations without further delay, including the advance payment scheme (and) that any advance payment scheme and financial compensation/redress scheme set-up is reasonable and equitable, taking account of the individual’s past abuse experiences, its impact, the severity and longevity of the abuse.”

Mr Whelan thanked the Scottish Government for its “positive engagement and genuine commitment” to resolving outstanding issues concerning historical abuse in care.

Mr Swinney said: “I am profoundly grateful to the Review Group and CELCIS for bringing forward a substantial and serious piece of work based upon significant engagement with survivors.

“We will now give the recommendations early, detailed and sensitive consideration, and report back to Parliament in due course.

“We recognise the hurt and damage caused to those who were abused in childhood by the very institutions who should have cared for them, and will continue to work closely with survivors and their representatives.”

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