Islington Council Statement about Support Payment Scheme

15th October 2021

Islington Council will create Non-Recent Child Abuse Support Payment Scheme for survivors of abuse in children’s homes

Islington Council will set up a support payment scheme for people who suffered abuse while placed in the council’s children’s homes from 1966-1995.

The scheme will enable abuse survivors to receive a financial support payment of £10,000, without having to bring a civil compensation claim, and is designed to enable a payment more quickly than having to go through the trauma of the lengthy civil compensation process.

Payments will be made through a process that is as straightforward and quick to access as possible, and that minimises the need to re-live past trauma, or the risk of further trauma or harm.

The scheme will form part of the council’s wider support scheme which offers trauma counselling, specialist advice, support and assistance for care, housing, appropriate welfare benefits, access to further education and suitable employment, and support to access care records.

Earlier this year, the council consulted on its proposed scheme, and received 43 responses, from survivors, care-experienced adults affected by abuse, and organisations responding on behalf of groups of survivors.  The council carefully considered all comments and suggestions, and in response made a number of changes to the scheme. 

These include increasing the amount of payment from £8,000 to £10,000; expanding the categories of abuse; and procuring an independent advocacy service to assist an applicant where this is reasonably required.

The support payment scheme is not a compensation or redress scheme; it will sit alongside the existing civil compensation route, not replace it.  It has no bearing on any civil compensation claims that abuse survivors may bring, except that, in order to ensure fairness and compliance with constitutional requirements, a scheme payment would be offset against any later civil compensation claim payment, and any previous civil compensation claim payment would be offset against a scheme payment.

The scheme was approved at Islington Council’s Executive meeting last night (14 October).

Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz, Leader of Islington Council, said last night: “Abuse of children in Islington’s children’s homes was the worst chapter in this council’s history. Children, placed in our care, were subjected to terrible abuse, which has been deeply traumatic and had a devastating effect on their lives.

“As Leader of Islington Council, I again want to say we’re deeply sorry for the council’s past failures to protect vulnerable children in our care. I offer this heartfelt apology to anyone who has suffered abuse, and who continues to suffer because of it.

“We know that there is nothing that we can do to make amends for the trauma caused, but it is our responsibility as a council to address these past failings, and offer support.

“Payments will be made through a process that is straightforward and quick to access, and that minimises the need to re-live past trauma, or the risk of further trauma or harm.

“I’d like to put on record my heartfelt thanks to all the survivors and care-experienced adults affected by abuse, and organisations representing them, who have made a very valuable contribution to our consultation on this proposed scheme earlier this year.

“Thanks to their responses we have made a significant number of changes to the proposed scheme, including increasing the payment from £8,000 to £10,000, and expanding the categories of abuse.

“Islington Council today is a very different organisation, and protecting children from harm is our top priority. We remain rightly deeply sorry and ashamed for the failings of the past.”

The report approved by Executive is available to read in full.

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