Chair of public body announced.
Deputy First Minister Shona Robison has appointed the Chair of Redress Scotland, the public body which makes decisions on levels of financial redress awarded to survivors of historical child abuse in care.
Dr Kirsty Darwent is Chair of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS). She took up this role in 2017 having served on the SFRS Board since the service’s inception. Dr Darwent will take up the appointment of Chair of Redress Scotland on 18 September.
The Redress for Survivors (Historical Child Abuse in Care) (Scotland) Act 2021 received Royal Assent in April 2021 and the redress scheme opened for applications in December of that year.
Survivors are able to apply for financial redress payments of up to £100,000, as well as access to apology and support.
Ms Robison said:
“I welcome Dr Darwent as the new Chair of Redress Scotland. She leads an organisation whose main focus is to be responsive to feedback from survivors and ensuring that this important work is underpinned by three principles – dignity, compassion and respect. I would like to thank Bill Matthews for his leadership after stepping in at short notice in March, as Interim Chair.
“For decades, some children in residential care in Scotland were failed by those entrusted to look after them. Scotland has taken steps to face up to the failings of the past by establishing Scotland’s Redress Scheme, which will play a critical part in its delivery.
“While nothing can ever make up for the sufferings survivors have endured, the scheme is making a real difference to many survivors as it goes some way to providing acknowledgement and recognition of the harm caused.”
Dr Kirsty Darwent said:
“It is an honour to join Redress Scotland and to build on the significant progress made in its first two years. I intend to listen to survivors’ views on the work of Redress Scotland and I want to continue to deliver on their expectations.
“The organisation is playing its part in the wider effort to ensure that the wrongs of the past are acknowledged, learned from, and never repeated, and I look forward to contributing to this important work.
“I am committed to maintaining the confidence of survivors and their next of kin and will do that transparently, and through our independence, effectiveness and efficiency.”
Dr Kirsty Darwent is a Chartered Psychologist and family psychotherapist who worked for many years with children and families, particularly in community settings. More recently, she has specialised in training and supervising health and care staff and undertaking research that seeks to improve community support and services. This interest led her to non-executive and governance roles and she has been the Chair of Relationships Scotland and the Vice-Chair of NHS Ayrshire and Arran. She is the Chair of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service where she works with colleagues to improve the safety and wellbeing of people in Scotland. She stepped down from her roles with Relationships Scotland and Family Therapy Training Network on 29 August
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