The SHRC InterAction Action Plan Review Group, in partnership with CELCIS (the Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children) has today (Thursday, 6 September) published a set of reports and recommendations regarding a potential financial compensation/redress scheme for victims/survivors of abuse in care in Scotland.
The reports and recommendations have been presented to Scotland’s Deputy First Minister John Swinney and are available on the CELCIS website. CELCIS has worked in partnership to support the work of the Scottish Human Rights Commission (SHRC) Review Group, and this work follows the development of the Action Plan for Justice for Victims of Historic Abuse of Children in Care.
The recommendations are shaped by a consultation and engagement exercise, the first ever undertaken in Scotland to consider this specific matter. The main focus of this was a national consultation with victims/survivors of abuse in care. Throughout the design and delivery of this work the views of victims/survivors have been represented.
The consultation was carried out on behalf of the Scottish Government and the Group is now reporting back with 14 recommendations for Scottish Ministers to consider when deciding whether to take forward a scheme in Scotland.
Key to the consultation, victims/survivors were asked if the Scottish Government should introduce a financial compensation/redress scheme and almost all who answered this question said yes. The InterAction Action Plan Review Group supports this view and has outlined this opinion in a set of recommendations. In addition, they recommend that an advance payment scheme for elderly and ill victims/survivors should be progressed as soon as possible and in advance of any main financial compensation/redress scheme.
A financial compensation/redress scheme could offer an alternative route for those victims/survivors who are unable to, or choose not to, pursue financial compensation through existing routes, such as civil damages or the criminal injuries compensation scheme.
The reports published are:
• Report 1: Executive Summary of the consultation with victim/survivors of abuse in care
• Report 2: Analysis and findings of the consultation of victims/survivors of abuse in care
• Report 3: International Perspectives – a descriptive summary
• Report 4: Initial perspectives from residential and foster care service providers and other relevant professional groups
A letter from the Review Group outlining the recommendations is also published alongside the reports.
The Scottish Government will now be considering this information.
Professor Andrew Kendrick, Chair of the InterAction Action Plan Review Group, said:
“The Review Group has maintained a steady commitment to getting the consultation and engagement exercise right, to ensure that victims’/survivors’ views have informed the process and the content of the work and ensuring our approach is robust and considered. 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 for victims/survivors of abuse in care.
“Victims/survivors have provided important insights into the complex issues involved and provided significant information on how this could be taken forward.”
David Whelan, on behalf of The Former Boys and Girls Abused In Quarriers (FBGA), who were represented on the Review Group, said:
“We welcome the outcomes of the financial compensation/ redress consultation. Working in partnership with other victims-survivors and the Scottish Human Rights Commission, CELCIS and the Scottish Government representative on the Interaction Review group. We have proposed a set of recommendations to the Scottish Government.
“FBGA believes that the recommendations that the Review group members with the other parties have arrived at, drawing from the contributions of all the victim/survivors who took part in the consultation, and now proposed to the Scottish Government will address the outstanding issues in a fair and reasonable manner for all victims/survivors regardless, including those victims-survivors who are very ill, elderly and pre:1964.
“FBGA seek the full implementation of all the recommendations without further delay including the advance payment scheme. That any advance payment scheme and financial compensation/redress scheme set-up is reasonable and equitable taking account of the individuals past abuse experiences its impact, the severity and longevity of the abuse.
“We thank the Scottish Government for its recent positive engagement and genuine commitment with the Interaction Review Group to resolve the outstanding issues concerning historical in care abuse.”
Professor Jennifer Davidson, Executive Director at CELCIS, University of Strathclyde, said:
“Care should help children to reach their full potential, and nurturing and safe care is happening every day throughout Scotland. Where abuse in care has happened, it is a grave injustice that can create lifelong harm, and this consultation offered an opportunity for the survivors who have taken part to share their views on this important issue. We have a responsibility as a society to ensure that forms of redress are in place for those that need and want this, as we strive to prevent abuse and protect children now and in the future.”
Judith Robertson, Chair of the Scottish Human Rights Commission, commented:
“The Scottish Human Rights Commission welcomes the Review Group’s recommendations to the Scottish Government on financial redress for historic abuse survivors and we look forward to them and we look forward to them being implemented in full.
“A financial compensation or redress scheme is essential for securing access to justice for survivors of childhood abuse. Anyone who has been subjected to sexual abuse and serious physical or emotional abuse or neglect has a human right to access an effective and fair remedy.
“We also support the recommendation that an advanced payment scheme for older and ill survivors is progressed as soon as possible and before the main scheme is established in law."
The recommendations are:
Alongside the consultation and consideration of ‘interim payments’, specific discussions took place concerning the status of pre-1964 victims/survivors and all the following recommendation was made in regard to an advance payment scheme.
Lesley Sneddon, CELCIS Communications Manager
T: 0141 444 8544
In January 2017, The Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland (CELCIS), in partnership with the SHRC InterAction Action Plan Review Group (Review Group), was commissioned by the Scottish Government to take forward a consultation and engagement exercise on a potential financial compensation/redress scheme for individuals who experienced abuse in care in Scotland, as defined by the Terms of Reference of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (SCAI).
The InterAction Action Plan Review Group is a national stakeholder group. It includes representation from survivors, survivor support organisations, service providers, the Scottish Human Rights Commission (SHRC), the Scottish Government, CELCIS and Social Work Scotland. The Group monitors the implementation of the Action Plan for Justice for Victims of Historic Abuse of Children in Care.
Progress has been made in taking forward a number of the commitments in the Action Plan for Justice for Victims of Historic Abuse of Children in Care, for example, the Apologies (Scotland) Act 2016, the Limitation (Childhood Abuse) (Scotland) Act 2017 and Future Pathways, Scotland’s in care survivor support fund in addition the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry. However, there are many reasons why victims/survivors may not be able to access civil justice and a financial compensation/redress scheme would provide a core element of the broader reparation package for victims/survivors of abuse in care; without which, access to a financial compensation route for some victims/survivors will remain denied.
The consultation was open from 4 September 2017 until 17 November 2017 for all victims/survivors of historical abuse in care, as defined by the Terms of Reference of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry. There were 181 responses to the consultation, mostly from victims/survivors, but also including some submitted on behalf of a victim/survivor or a deceased victim/survivor, or on behalf of a support organisation.
A financial compensation/redress scheme for victims/survivors of abuse in care in Scotland would offer an alternative route for those who are unable to, or choose not to, pursue financial compensation through existing routes, such as civil damages or the criminal injuries compensation scheme.
The key focus of the consultation and engagement exercise was a national consultation with victims/survivors. In addition, information was gathered on selected financial redress schemes established in other countries, and engagement with residential and foster care providers, and other professional groups took place to gain their views.
Between 2012 and 2014 CELCIS worked in partnership with Scottish Human Rights Commission (SHRC) through an InterAction process to develop the Action Plan for Justice for Victims of Historic Abuse of Children in Care. Recommendations made by the SHRC Action Plan form the basis of the Scottish Government's commitments to address the needs of survivors.