Child abuse victims in Scotland to receive compensation payments from April

The Scottish Government has set aside £10 million for fast-track payments to victims of child abuse in care from April.

It is part of the Budget Bill, which cleared its first parliamentary hurdle on Thursday following a deal being struck by the SNP and the Greens.

The move means compensation will be paid to people who were abused as children while in care homes in Scotland.

An independent inquiry is examining historical allegations of the abuse of children in dozens of institutions, including religious and voluntary organisations.

The initial payments will be for people whose age or health means they might not live to see the wider planned compensation scheme rolled out.

The Scottish Government plans to bring this scheme, to provide financial redress to all victims of child abuse in care in Scotland, by 2021.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney (pictured) announced plans to pay compensation last year in response to recommendations from a review group that included survivors and various parties with responsibilities towards them.

In a letter to Holyrood’s Education Committee, Mr Swinney gave an update on the plans.

He said: “The Scottish Government has been progressing work at pace on financial redress.

“We will make advance payments to survivors who may not live long enough to apply to a statutory scheme.

“I am pleased the Budget Bill has now passed stage one and has a parliamentary agreement to pass at stage three, which means the £10 million set aside for the advance payments scheme is now available from this April.

“The budget will in effect be demand-led and the provisional allocation of £10 million may be higher or lower depending on the number of applications received.

“We are working with the review group to gather their views on key aspects of the application process and how the scheme will be publicised to those survivors who may not live long enough to apply to the statutory scheme.”

He added: “We will publish full details of the advance payments as soon as possible.

“We also continue to consider the detailed design of a financial redress scheme which treats survivors with sensitivity and respect and draws on the experience of other countries.

“There will be a full public consultation later this year and, subject to Parliamentary approval, legislation for a financial redress scheme will be passed by the end of this Parliamentary term.”

Announcing the scheme last October, Mr Swinney offered an “an unreserved and heartfelt apology to everyone who suffered abuse in care in Scotland” on behalf of the Scottish Government, which he said is “deeply ashamed”.

He stressed nothing can make up for the suffering of the survivors but they have said redress is important and would provide “some degree of recognition and acknowledgement”.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2019, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Yui Mok / PA Wire.

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