Survivors of abuse in Islington children’s homes to receive support payments

Islington Gazette, 22nd March 2021

People who suffered emotional, physical and sexual abuse in the council’s children’s homes between 1966 and 1995 will be able to access a support payment scheme approved by the Town Hall last week.

It will enable abuse survivors to receive financial support without having to bring a claim for compensation, with the aim of avoiding the risk of re-traumatisation because of lengthy processes.

Eligible survivors will get £8,000 each, with a consultation on the scheme set to take place with stakeholders including the Islington Survivors Network (ISN).

The plans have been “broadly welcomed” by the ISN, which has long campaigned for justice for survivors of child abuse in the council’s children’s homes and foster placement.

A spokesperson for the network said it would be pressing the council to address the extension of the scheme to include those subjected to neglect, those who suffered harassment or violence from other residents, those placed in non-Islington homes or foster homes, and the families of those who have died while waiting for the scheme to be announced.

They added: “The general feeling is that this will get a payment to a lot of survivors who otherwise would have nothing.” 

Council leader Cllr Richard Watts was questioned by survivors during the meeting at which the scheme was approved.

One attendee spoke on behalf of a survivor who was in a children’s home for a number of years along with two siblings, one of whom has committed suicide.

Watts was asked: “Will this scheme include people who have committed suicide, for the family? Because they did not survive, and in some ways they are worse off than the people who did survive.”

He replied: “It is not proposed at the moment that the scheme does cover that. That is an issue that has already been raised with us by the ISN and others as well, so clearly I would urge you to make a submission to the consultation about that.”

The council leader repeated his apology to victims of child abuse in Islington care homes for the past failings of the local authority, calling what had happened the “darkest chapter” in its history.

The consultation will run for six weeks until April.