By Democrat reporter
Survivors of historical child abuse in care will be able to apply for payouts of up to £80,000 under a proposed new law.
The legislation aims to provide “tangible recognition” of harm caused to those who were abused as children in residential care settings before December 1, 2004.
The Redress for Survivors (Historical Child Abuse in Care) (Scotland) Bill proposes setting up a new independent body, Redress Scotland, to assess applications for financial redress.
Survivors can apply for a fixed rate payment of £10,000 or an individually assessed redress payment which will involve a more detailed examination of their experience, with payment levels set at £20,000, £40,000 or £80,000.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “For decades, many children were failed by the institutions and people entrusted to look after them. Financial redress is an important part of doing what we can to address these failings.
“The Redress for Survivors Bill will acknowledge and provide tangible recognition of harm as a result of historical child abuse in various residential care settings in Scotland.
“It will provide elements of accountability, justice and financial redress for those who wish to access it. The Bill seeks to put in place a scheme which treats survivors with dignity and respect and which faces up to the past with compassion.
“Survivors of historical abuse in care have campaigned with dedication and perseverance for access to justice, improved accountability, and redress. They deserve to be listened to, heard and believed.
“This Bill is a tribute to their courage, determination and perseverance to ensure others never have to experience what they did.”
Certain categories of next of kin of deceased survivors will be eligible to apply for the fixed rate redress payment where the survivor died on or after November 17, 2016. The Scottish Government is also seeking financial contributions from those involved in the care of children at the time they were abused.
More than 400 victims of historic child abuse in care have already received payouts from the Scottish Government through the Advance Payment Scheme in the past year.
Launched in April 2019, it promised £10,000 to those who were abused in care before 2004 and aged over 68 – or with a terminal illness.
In the first year of the scheme, 417 payments have been made, equivalent to more than £4 million.
Former Boys and Girls Abused of Quarriers Homes (FBGA) welcomed the introduction of the Bill.
Its spokesman David Whelan said: “The harm and damage inflicted on children in care who are now adults by those who had a duty of care on children is unquantifiable. This harm and damage has been lifelong and has had a profound impact on the lives of those who were abused in care with severe life-long consequences as recognised by the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry.
“This redress scheme will certainly acknowledge this harm and damage provided it is a fair and reasonable redress scheme. It will go some way to support those abused in care to help rebuild their lives and find some comfort in their remaining years.”
The proposed scheme is part of a package of measures, including the ongoing Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry and the National Confidential Forum, to address historical childhood abuse in care