Justice and support for child abuse survivors

We are supporting survivors of child abuse by:

We have also changed the law to remove a barrier which prevented child abuse survivors from accessing civil justice. The Limitation (Childhood Abuse) (Scotland) Act 2017 came into force on 4 October 2017.

Information on accessing support can be found on mygov.scot

Financial redress for survivors of child abuse in care

The Deputy First Minister of Scotland made a statement to Parliament on 23 October 2018 in which he committed to establishing a financial redress scheme for survivors of abuse in care. He also offered an unreserved and heartfelt apology on behalf of the Scottish Government to all those who were abused as children while in care.

He was responding to recommendations submitted to him on 5 September by the InterAction Action Plan Review Group. The main recommendation was that a redress scheme is set up by legislation before the end of this Parliamentary term in March 2021. The group also recommended that advance payments are made as soon as possible to survivors who may not live long enough to apply to the statutory scheme due to either ill health or age. These recommendations have been accepted. The other recommendations were about important aspects of scheme design (such as approach to payments, and what will be required by way of evidence) and these will be given full consideration in the work that lies ahead. 

The Review Group’s recommendations and accompanying reports can be found on the Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland (CELCIS) website, along with wider information about the approach taken, which included a national consultation with survivors, international research, and high-level engagement with providers of care services and other relevant professional groups.

View the full text of the Deputy First Minister’s statement and apology. There is also a financial redress for survivors of child abuse in care: information note available.

Limitation (Childhood Abuse) (Scotland) Act 2017

We introduced the Limitation (Childhood Abuse) Bill in November 2016 to remove a barrier preventing child abuse survivors from accessing civil justice. It fulfilled a recommendation from the Scottish Human Rights Commission.

The Limitation (Childhood Abuse) (Scotland) Act 2017 came into force on 4 October 2017.

The Act:

  • removed the three-year limitation period for personal injury actions where the person raising the action was a child (under the age of 18) at the time the injury occurred, and the act or omission that caused the child's injuries constituted abuse
  • removed the limitation period whether the abuse occurred before or after new provisions came into force
  • applies to abuse that took place (or continued) on or after 26 September 1964 – the changes made by the Act do not apply to those survivors whose rights to compensation have been extinguished through the law of prescription

Support organisations and initiatives

Survivor Support Innovation and Development Fund

We set up the Survivor Support Innovation and Development Fund to support development and innovation that enables service providers to expand their capacity and capability by partnering with local statutory and/or other third sector services. This ensures better integration of services for survivors.

View a list of survivor support organisations funded in 2018 to 2019.

Innovation and Development Fund Network

The Innovation and Development Fund Network brings together voluntary organisations at regular networking events to share information on project development, which in turn promotes wider learning and improved ways of working.

These events provide opportunities for working together to build capacity for delivering good quality services, and for engaging with policy development activities such as developing a national training framework.

The Network aims to meet at least three times a year. The last meeting took place on 3 October 2018.

National Trauma Training Framework

Through the 2018-2019 Programme for Government, we have committed to developing an adversity and trauma-informed workforce with the ambition to make a positive change in how people who have had adverse childhood experiences (ACES) and traumatic experiences in adulthood, such as physical or sexual abuse, are supported.

On 20 June 2018, the Deputy First Minister announced that a three year funding package of £1.35 million will be invested to create a national training programme, to support over 5000 frontline workers across all sectors of the Scottish workforce who are responding to psychological trauma. The programme of work will be led by NHS Education for Scotland (NES) and informed by people with lived experience, to create and deliver quality training resources. 

The new national training programme will be consistent with the 2017 Scottish Government/NES publication ‘Transforming Psychological Trauma: A  Knowledge and Skills Framework for The Scottish Workforce’. This framework lays out the essential and core knowledge and skills needed by all tiers of the Scottish workforce to ensure that the needs of children and adults who are affected by trauma are recognised, understood and responded to in a way which recognises individual strengths, acknowledges rights and ensures timely access to effective care, support and interventions for those who need it.

A draft Trauma Training Plan, known as the Scottish Psychological Trauma and Adversity Training Plan, has now been developed as a companion document to the Knowledge and Skills Framework. The purpose of this plan is to provide guidance and outline the steps that can be undertaken within and across organisations, services and agencies to develop, commission and embed the use of high quality trauma training. The draft plan is currently out for consultation with responses due by end Feb 2018. 

Future Pathways: Scotland's in-care survivor support fund

We opened the In Care Survivor Support Fund (ICSSF) in September 2016 and renamed it Future Pathways in February 2017.

Future Pathways aims to offer a person-centred, outcomes-based approach that identifies what matters to survivors. It is working with a range of organisations from the statutory and voluntary sectors, and is keen to talk to organisations who currently provide support to survivors and are interested in offering their services to the fund.