Purpose of Assessment
The purpose of this report is to present and assess any potential Human Rights issues arising as a result of the Redress for Survivors (Historical Child Abuse in Care) (Scotland) Bill.
Policy Aims of the Bill
The Redress for Survivors (Historical Child Abuse in Care) (Scotland) Bill (“the Bill”) seeks to establish a financial redress scheme for survivors of historical child abuse, and, where eligible, their next of kin. The purpose of the scheme is to acknowledge and provide tangible recognition of harm as a result of historical child abuse in relevant care settings in Scotland. The scheme will also provide access to some non-financial redress elements - 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.
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 the needs of survivors into consideration as far as possible.
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 at the time of the abuse whether providing care directly or otherwise involved in the decision making processes and arrangements by which the child came to be in care in the place where the abuse took place. 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.
The InterAction Review Group was established to oversee the Scottish Human Rights Commission InterAction on Historical Abuse of Children in Care. The InterAction Plan Review Group is a national stakeholder group which includes representation from survivors, survivor organisations, the Scottish Human Rights Commission, the Scottish Government, the Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland (CELCIS) and providers from all sectors. When this work concluded in October 2014, with commitments to implement the Action Plan on Justice for Victims of Historical Abuse of Children in Care, the Review Group continued with a revised remit and membership in order to monitor and review the implementation of the commitments to the Action Plan.
Following an extensive survivor consultation and engagement exercise conducted in 2017, in partnership with CELCIS, the Review Group made recommendations for the establishment of a financial redress scheme. In light of these recommendations, on 23 October 2018, the Deputy First Minister made a statement to Parliament committing to establishing a financial redress scheme for survivors of historical child abuse in care in Scotland.
The advance payment scheme was launched on 25 April 2019 in accordance with the Review Group's recommendation that arrangements should be put in place to allow priority groups of survivors, those with a terminal illness or applicants aged 70 years and over, access to financial redress. In December 2019, the age criteria was lowered to those aged 68 and over. The advance payment scheme will remain open until the statutory redress scheme is operational.
A pre-legislative public consultation was conducted by the Scottish Government seeking views on the detailed design of the scheme. This was launched on 2 September 2019 and remained open for a period of 12 weeks. This received 280 responses, with over 200 of the respondents identifying themselves as survivors. The responses to the public consultation and the independent analytical report of this, have been published and continue to inform policy decisions on the design of the redress scheme.