£10,000 payments for the survivors of abuse scandal

Islington Council starts scheme after ‘worst chapter in its history’

Friday, 15th October 2021 — By Helen Chapman

Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz Annual Council

Council leader Kaya Comer-Schwartz

SURVIVORS of child abuse in Islington’s care homes will be paid sums of £10,000 as a “support payment”.

Cabinet councillors last night (Thursday) agreed to put aside £16million for the scheme with claimants expected from a period of 30 years.

The payments are aimed to help those affected by the scandal – described as the “worst chapter” in Islington’s history – and will be given to people who were abused by paid staff and volunteers in care homes between 1966 and 1995. Victims suffered sexual, physical and emotional abuse.

The Tribune reported in July how the Islington Survivors Network (ISN), had concerns the council were not listening to their views on the consultation process for the scheme.

But council said it had taken feedback from survivors before forming the proposals.

Thirty-two survivors responded to the consultation, some of whom had been abused by employees and visitors to the care homes at which they lived in as children.

The payment had previously been lined up to be less, with £8,000 the figure in an initial suggestion.

It is expected thousands of survivors could come forward.

Dr Liz Davies from the ISN said: “They’ve [the council] listened a lot to what we have said in our response and they made quite a lot of changes.

“They are thankfully going to engage with us. The Islington Survivors Network is pleased the council will be working with us in terms of the process. It is nice to acknowledge the good things and move forward.”

The scheme is likely to launch next spring and will be run independently of the council.

Dr Davies said some of the group’s concerns had not been resolved, however, including a decision to exclude children who grew up in foster parent homes..

Dr Davies also said since 2017, eight survivors of the abuse have now died.

The ISN asked the council if their families could qualify for compensation, but Islington declined to extend its payment programme.

Islington Council leader Councillor Kaya Comer-Schwartz said: “Abuse of children in Islington’s care homes was the worst chapter in the council’s history, and we are deeply sorry for the council’s past failure to protect vulnerable children.”

She added: “We have now consulted on the proposed Support Payment Scheme, which would enable abuse survivors to receive a financial support payment without having to bring a civil compensation claim.

“The council is extremely grateful to everyone who has taken part in the consultation, especially abuse survivors, Islington Survivors Network, and other support organisations and advocates.”

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