Financial redress for historical child abuse: consultation

This consultation seeks views on the detailed design of a statutory financial redress scheme in Scotland, scheme administration issues, and views on financial redress as part of a package of wider reparations for survivors of historical child abuse in care.


This consultation

This consultation seeks your views on the detailed design of a statutory financial redress scheme in Scotland, scheme administration issues, and high level views on financial redress as part of a package of wider reparations for survivors of historical child abuse in care.

The Deputy First Minister committed to introducing a statutory financial redress scheme in October 2018, following the receipt of recommendations from a consultation with survivors which was carried out in 2017. Those recommendations form the starting point for this consultation and are referenced throughout this document.

The consultation paper is in two parts. Part 1 includes questions about the detailed design of the statutory financial redress scheme. Many of the recommendations from the 2017 survivor consultation highlighted that further consideration of the detail would be required. Part 2 includes wider questions related to the implementation of the statutory scheme and elements of a package of reparation, including acknowledgement, apology and support.

This consultation is a necessary part of the pre-legislative process for the Scottish Parliament to consider and approve draft legislation. It seeks further detail on the key findings from the 2017 consultation, covers a wider range of issues, and provides an opportunity for all interested parties to express their views now that there is a firm commitment to introduce a financial redress scheme in Scotland.

The consultation will run for 12 weeks and will close on 25 November 2019. Please see paragraph 17 for details about how to respond to this consultation. You do not need to answer every question in the consultation. Your responses will still be valid if you only answer some of the questions.

Once the consultation has closed, the results will be analysed independently by an external analyst, and a report published. The consultation findings will help shape the content of the draft legislation, which will be introduced to the Scottish Parliament during 2020. It is expected to be one of the final pieces of legislation considered before the end of this Parliamentary term in March 2021.

It should be noted that the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry is independent of government and any other organisation and does not therefore form any part of this consultation.

Recent progress on financial redress

In November 2016, the Deputy First Minister made a statement to Parliament in which he acknowledged that, while elements of reparation were in place in Scotland, he wished to explore the specific matter of financial redress. He defined this as follows: “By redress in this context I mean monetary payment to provide tangible recognition of the harm done, as part of a wider package of reparations which this Government is already delivering… I am therefore committing to a formal process of consultation and engagement on this specific issue with survivors and other relevant parties, to fully explore the issues and gather a wider range of views.”

This was taken forward in partnership with the SHRC InterAction Action Plan Review Group and the Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland (CELCIS). The Review Group monitors the implementation of the SHRC Action Plan on Justice for Historic Abuse of Victims of Children in Care. It is a national group that includes survivor representatives, representation from care providers, Social Work Scotland, the Scottish Human Rights Commission, the Scottish Government and CELCIS.

The consultation and engagement on redress involved three main activities which took place over the course of 2016-18. There was a survivor consultation in 2017, which received just over 180 responses, an engagement exercise to gather initial views from residential and foster care providers and other relevant professional groups, and a review of available information about financial redress schemes in other countries.

A set of recommendations were drawn from this work, in particular the information gained from the consultation with survivors. The recommendations were submitted to the Deputy First Minister in September 2018 and are summarised in Box A. The reports from each of these activities, along with the full recommendations, are available at

Box A: Recommendations based on the 2017 survivor consultation

  • A financial compensation/redress scheme for victims/survivors of abuse in care should be established.
  • Approval of a financial compensation/redress scheme for victims/survivors of abuse in care should take place as soon as possible following detailed scheme design.
  • The preferred approach to financial compensation/redress is a combination payment.
  • Next-of-kin of deceased victims/survivors of historic abuse should be eligible to apply to a scheme.
  • There should be arrangements for interim payments which would allow priority groups of victims/survivors to access payments prior to full payment.
  • A range of written and verbal information, where available, should be used to assess individual applications.
  • A range of support and guidance should be put in place for applicants to assist them through the process of the scheme.
  • Victims/survivors should be represented in the administration and governance of a full financial compensation/redress scheme.
  • A range of knowledge and understanding should be represented in any panel or board which will have a decision making role in the scheme.
  • All those responsible should contribute to a financial compensation/redress scheme.
  • Scheme design should take account of a number of key principles to ensure the integrity and effectiveness of a scheme.
  • It is essential that any potential negative consequences are considered during scheme design.
  • The Scottish Government should discuss next steps with the Review Group and other victims/survivors, particularly the process to take forward detailed scheme design and implementation.
  • An ‘advanced payment scheme’ for the elderly and ill should be progressed as soon as possible and before the main financial compensation/redress scheme is established in statute.

In response to these recommendations, in October 2018, the Deputy First Minister committed to establish a statutory 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. His statement to the Scottish Parliament can be accessed at

He also committed to make advance payments as soon as possible to survivors who may not live long enough to apply to the statutory scheme. The Advance Payment Scheme opened for applications six months later in April 2019. Advance Payments are being made on a discretionary basis to those who have a terminal illness, or who are age 70 or over. Further information and guidance on eligibility and how to apply for an Advance Payment can be found at The intention is that the Advance Payment Scheme will remain open until the statutory redress scheme is operational.

Overview of wider reparations

The Scottish Government has made good progress in taking forward a package of reparations for survivors of abuse in care in the context of the Action Plan on Justice for Victims of Historic Child Abuse (2014) and the SHRC Human Rights Framework for Justice and Remedies for Historic Child Abuse (2010).

A statutory financial redress scheme will form part of a wider package of measures identified in the Action Plan and already in place. These include:

  • the Limitation (Childhood Abuse) Scotland Act 2017, which removes the three year time limit for bringing civil action for child abuse;
  • the introduction of the Apologies (Scotland) Act 2016;
  • the apology on behalf of the Scottish people made by the then First Minister on 1 December 2004, and the apology on behalf of the Scottish Government made by the Deputy First Minister on 23 October 2018
  • the establishment of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry in 2015;
  • the National Confidential Forum, which provides an acknowledgement function for survivors of abuse in care;
  • Future Pathways, which provides personal outcomes focussed support to survivors of abuse in care.

One element of the Action Plan which has not yet received attention is the issue of commemoration. Some survivors have expressed the view that this should be turned to once the other key elements are in place.

How to respond to this consultation

We are inviting responses to this consultation by 25 November 2019.

Where possible, our preference is for responses to this consultation to be submitted using the Scottish Government’s online consultation platform, Citizen Space. Citizen Space can be found at: You can save as you go along and return to the questions as many times as you wish. Please remember to submit your response before the closing date. You will receive a copy of your response by email if you submit it via Citizen Space.

If you would prefer to respond by post or email, you should download the Respondent Information Form which includes the list of consultation questions. If you wish, we can send you a hard copy by post for you to fill in. You can request this by contacting us by e-mail or post at the details shown. Please email the completed form to or send to:

Redress and Survivor Relations Division
Scottish Government
2A South
Victoria Quay

Whether you respond by Citizen Space or by post or email, you will need to indicate whether you are content for your response to be published online. This is normal practice for public consultations. Once the consultation has closed, individual responses from those who gave their consent, are published online at Citizen Space will ask for your permission to publish your response before you submit it. For postal/email responses, the Respondent Information Form will ask you about this.

If you ask for your response not to be published, we will regard it as confidential, and will treat it accordingly. All respondents should be aware that the Scottish Government is subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 and would therefore have to consider any request made to it under the Act for information relating to responses made to this consultation exercise.

Where respondents have given permission for their response to be made public, we will still check that the response does not contain any sensitive information of a personal nature, any potentially defamatory or offensive materials, or where publication would be contrary to copyright or data protection laws. Sensitive information will be redacted.

To find out more about how we handle your personal data, please see the Scottish Government privacy policy at

If you have any comments or complaints about how this consultation exercise has been conducted, please send them by e-mail or post to the address at the bottom of page 6.

Please be aware that responses to a public consultation cannot be used as a way to address individual concerns and comments about your own circumstances.

If thinking about redress and this consultation is causing immediate distress Breathing Space and the Samaritans can provide help.

Breathing space: Call free of charge on 0800 83 85 87, Monday to Thursday from 6pm to 2am, weekend from Friday at 6pm to Monday morning at 6am.

Samaritans: Call free of charge on 116 123 from the UK, any time of the day or night.



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