Historic child abuse in Scotland – Scottish government opens consultation on financial redress

Scottish Government launches consultation seeking views on financial redress scheme for victims of historic child abuse

Executive summary

Following acceptance by the Scottish Government of the need to have a financial redress scheme for victims of historic child abuse in Scottish care, they have launched a consultation seeking views on the detailed design of the financial redress scheme to be legislated for next year.

The consultation

The Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, committed in October 2018 to develop a scheme that would provide financial redress for the victims who had historically suffered child abuse whilst in the Scottish child care system. The Scottish Government is now seeking views on a detailed design of a statutory financial redress scheme. The consultation falls into two parts: part one focuses on the detail of the scheme, whereas part two relates to the implementation of the scheme and elements of a package of reparation to include apologies where required and continued support for the victims.

The payment of compensation is proposed to take the form of a two-stage payment scheme to include a flat rate payment and, thereafter, an option for the victims to apply for an additional payment reflecting the nature and severity of abuse and the lifelong impact of the abuse. The category of applicants entitled to apply is proposed to include victims together with spouses and children of deceased survivors for a next of kin payment. In addition, views are sought on the proposed new public body to administer the scheme together with a wholly independent panel to determine applications.

The consultation also welcomes views on the definition of historical abuse, suggesting that it should be defined as abuse that took place prior to 1 December 2014.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:

“Responding to the harm done to children in care by those trusted to look after them is the right thing to do. I know that nothing can make up for what happened, but along with other measures to help survivors, financial redress is an important step. Getting the design of a financial redress scheme right is of the utmost importance if it is to give survivors the acknowledgement they need and deserve. That is why I encourage everyone to have their say by taking part in the consultation.”

The consultation will be open for 12 weeks, closing on 25 November 2019. Thereafter independent analysis of the views will be completed and a report published. Draft legislation encompassing the scheme is expected to be laid before the Scottish Parliament during the 2020 parliamentary session.

If you have any questions or would like to know more about our legal update, please contact Pamela Stevenson, Partner, on 0141 375 0867, or pamela.stevenson@weightmans.com,

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