Redress for Survivors (Historical Child Abuse in Care) (Scotland) Act 2021 and relevant secondary legislation: fairer Scotland duty assessment

Fairer Scotland Duty Assessment (FSD) for the Redress for Survivors (Historical Child Abuse in Care) (Scotland) Act 2021 and relevant secondary legislation.

Stage 1 - Planning

1. What is the aim of your policy/strategy/plan?

The Redress for Survivors (Historical Child Abuse in Care) Scotland Act 2021 establishes a financial redress scheme for survivors of historical child abuse in relevant care settings in Scotland, and, where eligible, their next of kin. The main purpose of the scheme is to acknowledge and provide tangible recognition of the harm suffered as a result of historical child abuse whilst residing in a relevant care setting in Scotland. The scheme will also provide non-financial redress - such as acknowledgement, apology and support, and it will sit alongside existing measures that the Scottish Government has put in place for survivors of historical child abuse.[1]

The design of the redress scheme has been guided by engagement and consultation with survivors and others to ensure that it is trauma informed and takes into consideration as far as possible the needs of survivors. Survivors' views will continue to inform the delivery of the scheme in a process of continuous improvement.

The Scottish Government is committed to seeking financial contributions to the cost of the scheme from those who were responsible for the care of children where abuse occurred whether providing care directly or otherwise involved in the decision making processes and arrangements by which the child came to be in care. The scheme provides an opportunity for those bodies and organisations to meaningfully participate in the national, collective endeavour to recognise the harms of the past. Seeking these financial contributions is consistent with a human rights approach and with the views expressed by survivors.

2. Who will it affect (particular groups/businesses/geographies etc.)?

The statutory financial redress scheme aims to provide financial redress to all survivors who suffered historical child abuse prior to 1 December 2004 whilst in a relevant care setting in Scotland. This policy will therefore have a direct impact on those survivors who meet the eligibility criteria, and on those survivors who do not. Eligible survivors will benefit by being offered a financial redress payment and non-financial redress such as access to therapeutic support. Survivors who are not eligible will not be entitled to receive financial redress or non-financial redress included as part of the financial redress scheme.

The redress scheme will improve the choices and access to justice for many survivors. Those who meet the eligibility criteria will have the opportunity to apply for financial redress and other elements of non-financial redress offered by the scheme such as acknowledgement, apology and therapeutic support.

We recognise that by being excluded from the scope of the scheme, survivors who do not meet the eligibility criteria are also affected; those survivors will not be entitled to receive financial redress delivered by the scheme or to access to the elements of non-financial redress provided. However, we think that the eligibility criteria link rationally to the overall purpose of the scheme, and decisions to exclude any particular group, by the cut-off date or otherwise, are proportionate.

Relevant organisations may be faced with civil action on the part of survivors, the results of which could make a significant impact on the organisation through costs and damages, and upon services as a result. By making fair and meaningful financial contributions to the scheme, organisations may be able to mitigate the potential impact of action relating to historical abuse, and crystallise risk they may otherwise face. In order to make the delivery of the contribution affordable and sustainable for the scheme contributor, whilst ensuring the contribution remains fair and meaningful, section 15(2) of the Act requires the Scottish Ministers to take into account the circumstances which make a contribution affordable for an organisation, and any circumstances which may impact the ability of the organisation to continue to deliver their current services. The provision of fair and meaningful financial contributions offers relevant organisations an appropriate, proportionate and positive opportunity to address the harms of the past while protecting provision of the care services they provide.

3. What main outcomes do you expect the policy/strategy/plan to deliver?

Desired outcomes:

The overall desired outcome of this policy is to acknowledge and provide tangible recognition of the harm suffered as a result of historical child abuse whilst residing in a relevant care setting in Scotland.

This redress scheme is ambitious in its outcomes for survivors and ambitious in its vision for Scotland; as a nation that thoughtfully and compassionately responds to difficult truths and profound injustices and affirms the commitment to getting it right for vulnerable children in the future.

National outcomes:

This scheme will contribute to a number of national outcomes, including that we:

  • Grow up loved, safe and respected so that they realise their full potential;
  • Respect, protect and fulfil human rights and live free from discrimination; and
  • Live in communities that are inclusive, empowered, resilient and safe.

4. What is your timeframe for completing the Fairer Scotland assessment?

The Fairer Scotland Assessment was originally completed following the introduction of the Bill, on 13 August 2020 and was revised following the Bill receiving Royal Assent on 23 April 2021. This published review was carried out following the laying of a number of Scottish Statutory Instruments relating to the Act in September 2021.

5. Who else in the organisation will be involved in the assessment and what roles will they be playing? We'd expect involvement from policy and analytical teams as a minimum. It is rarely appropriate for one person to conduct the assessment alone.

Both the Redress, Relations and Response Division and wider Scottish Government Children and Families Directorate have been working with external organisations to gather views for the scheme including survivor groups, support groups, psychologists specialised in early trauma, and charities. These organisations have helped provide views on all aspects of the scheme including what may need to be in place to support applicants more broadly.

We have also been engaging with internal stakeholders including officials within Survivor Support, Health, Human Rights, Third Sector Unit, Justice Directorate, and Finance who have provided data, analysis and insight into existing services and any overlaps within our scheme and pre-existing policies.



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