Holyrood MSPs seek views on financial redress for victims of historic child abuse in care

MSPs are seeking opinions on proposed legislation aimed at offering financial redress for victims of historic child abuse in care.

The Redress for Survivors (Historical Child Abuse in Care) (Scotland) Bill was introduced earlier this month and aims to offer financial payments of up to £80,000 for people who were the victim of abuse in a care setting before December 2004.

As the Bill enters its early stages, the Scottish Parliament’s Education and Skills Committee has launched a consultation.

Committee convener Clare Adamson (pictured) said: “This is an important piece of legislation that seeks to provide practical measures to address the harm caused by historical child abuse in care in Scotland.

“The Bill aims to treat survivors with dignity and respect. The Scottish Government says it is part of facing up to the wrongs of the past with compassion.

“We want to hear views on whether the Bill will achieve what it sets out to do and whether the Bill will create an effective redress scheme for survivors.

“Our committee, therefore, wants to hear from survivors whether the Bill meets those aspirations, where it is sensitive to survivors’ needs and delivers a scheme of meaningful redress.”

Expected to cost up to £400 million, the scheme will also provide a fixed rate payment of £10,000 if victims would prefer, which would require less investigation into the circumstances of the abuse suffered.

If passed, the Bill will create a new body – Redress Scotland – which will assess applications from victims.

A similar advance scheme has already paid out £10,000 to 417 victims who are elderly or are suffering from terminal illnesses in an effort to ensure they receive some form of recompense.

In a statement in the Scottish Parliament last week, Deputy First Minister John Swinney described the Bill as “one of the most important pieces of legislation that this Parliament will consider in its lifetime”.

He added: “With this Bill, we again say to survivors, this should not have happened, we are sorry for what happened and we will act, collectively as a country, to do all that we can to address the suffering that too many of our fellow citizens endured in their childhood.”

The deadline for written submissions has been set at 5pm on October 2.

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