ISLINGTON SURVIVORS NETWORK
Survivors of child abuse in Islington children’s homes and foster placements campaigning for justice
Statement to Islington Council Executive Meeting: October 14th 2021
Islington Survivors Network welcome this opportunity to respond tonight to the proposed Support Payment Scheme for Survivors of Non-recent Child Abuse.
Firstly, we thank all the survivors in our network for waiting so long since hopes were raised for a financial scheme back in 2017. We know how difficult that long wait has been. Secondly, we thank over 100 survivors who provided evidence so that ISN could produce a comprehensive response to the council consultation which has contributed so much to the scheme being presented by the council tonight. We acknowledge that the Council has made some important changes to their first proposal although not all our responses were agreed.
It has been a long journey for us since the Executive meeting in September 2017 when many survivors spoke one by one of their very personal experiences of abuse when they were children in Islington’s care system. In response we received an apology & admission of council culpability from Richard Watts (then council leader) when he acknowledged “it was the darkest chapter in Islington council’s history” and gave a “full commitment to addressing past failings”. Sadly, since this time 8 Islington survivors have died without justice.
Since 2014, ISN have established and co-produced with the council the Islington Non-recent Abuse Team Support Service and the Trauma Service which are highly valued by many of us. ISN are committed to campaigning for the interests of all survivors including those who are excluded from this Scheme such as those who were in Islington Council foster placements. We also reassure survivors that we will advocate for them, when they apply for the payment, drawing on our extensive research, knowledge and expertise. Importantly, alongside the council, we will campaign for the DWP to decide that receipt of the payment will not affect entitlement to or the amount of any UK benefits. It would be devastating for many ISN survivors if the DWP refused to make this dispensation.
ISN broadly welcome this Support Payment Scheme and look forward to contributing to the planning for mplemention during the following months. However, there is still much work to be done to make sure that eligible survivors receive this payment as intended by the council objectives of being straightforward, quick to access & avoiding risk of further trauma.
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