The Scottish government will be setting up a financial compensation scheme for survivors of childhood abuse in care. The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry is looking at allegations made by victims of children in care in Scotland, who were subjected to abuse in the establishments. A redress scheme will be passed to compensate the victims and a fast-track system set up so that elderly survivors can get advance payments “with urgency”.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney told the survivors: “We believe you, and we are sorry. Today, on behalf of the Scottish government, I offer an unreserved and heartfelt apology to everyone who suffered abuse in care in Scotland. We are deeply ashamed of what happened. We will progress, without delay, to detailed design of a redress scheme, ensuring we learn lessons from other countries. We will move to make advance payments as soon as we possibly can, and will do so with urgency.”
The government will consider the details of the scheme in the next few months, with Mr Swinney warning that it may take time to draw up the details of a system which is “sensitive and respectful to survivors”.
The Scottish Human Rights Commissions Chairwoman Judith Robertson said:
“This is an essential component of their access to justice. Anyone subjected to sexual abuse and serious physical or emotional abuse or neglect has a human right to access an effective and fair remedy. We welcome that legislation is to be progressed before the end of this parliamentary term, and that advance payments will be made to survivors over 70 and those who are approaching the end of their life through ill-health.”
The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry was told that police have so far investigated complaints from more than 350 former residents of homes run by three voluntary organisations dating back to the 1930s, at homes run by Quarriers, Barnardo’s and the Aberlour Childcare Trust. Quarriers and Aberlour have apologised to the victims abused in their care.
The Inquiry is at its third stage and is looking into allegations of abuse at 86 institutions, including children’s homes and boarding schools. The inquiry was set up in October 2015 to look at the historical abuse of children in care across Scotland. The inquiry is chaired by High Court Judge Lady Smith and has cost £15.67m so far. It was originally scheduled to end next year, but the Scottish government has since said it can take as long as it needs.
If you have been a victim of sexual and physical abuse and would like to speak to one of our specialist abuse lawyers in confidence, please do not hesitate to contact us. We can advise you on the available options for pursuing a civil damages claim. Jordans successfully represent and secure compensation for numerous victims of abuse and are experts in overcoming the particular challenges that arise in these sensitive cases. Our abuse team can be contacted free on 0800 9555 094 or you could request a call back.