News

Redress for Survivors

Published: 11 Mar 2021 20:02

Parliament backs plans for survivors of historical child abuse in care in Scotland.

Legislation to create a scheme for survivors of historical child abuse in care in Scotland to apply for financial redress payments of up to £100,000, as well as access to apology and support, has been passed by Parliament.

The Redress for Survivors (Historical Child Abuse in Care) (Scotland) Bill will also set up an independent body, Redress Scotland, to assess applications for the scheme.

Survivors will be able to apply for a fixed rate redress payment of £10,000, or an individually assessed redress payment which will involve a more detailed examination of their experience. The individually assessed redress payment levels are set at £20,000, £40,000, £60,000, £80,000 or £100,000

In some circumstances, next of kin of deceased survivors will be able to apply for a redress payment of £10,000.

Financial contributions are being sought by the Scottish Government from those involved in the care of the children at the time they were abused and COSLA has already offered to contribute £100 million to the scheme.

The scheme will be open for applications as soon as possible and before the end of 2021. The recruitment of key appointments, including advertising the post of Chair of Redress Scotland, will begin later this month.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:

“I am pleased that Parliament has passed a Bill that will establish a survivor-focussed route to redress. It has been a long and difficult journey for survivors of historical abuse in care, who have campaigned with dignity and dedication for this law. Scotland’s redress scheme is an important part of our response to survivors and to this dark chapter of our nation’s past.

“As a society, we are still coming to terms with the scale and horror of the abuse and the impact it had. Those responsible for the harms of the past have a responsibility to do the right thing today.

“This Bill is for survivors. Their courage, determination and perserverance has made a difference and will ensure others never have to experience the horrors they went through.”

Background

The Bill and accompanying documents can be found on the Scottish Parliament website

Survivors who were abused before 1964, or for other reasons cannot, or do not want to, raise an action in civil court, will now have an opportunity to receive financial redress through an alternative route.  

Survivors who currently have the right to raise a civil action in respect of their abuse, will continue to have that option. The Bill provides a choice for them on whether or not they want to accept a payment through the redress scheme or pursue litigation. If they choose to accept the payment, they will be required to sign a waiver.  The waiver only will apply to the organisations that have made fair and meaningful financial contributions to the redress scheme, the amounts of which will be published. Organisations who do not contribute will not be included in the waiver. In the absence of the waiver where an organisation does not participate in the scheme, survivors will be able to receive their redress payment and still retain the option to raise legal action against the organisation.

Independent legal advice, subject to appropriate limits, will be funded by the Scottish Government to ensure survivors can make fully informed decisions that are right for them. 

The commitment to legislate was made following the recommendations of the SHRC InterAction Action Plan Review Group, in partnership with CELCIS (the Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children) report