4th November 2021
Lawyers representing Islington Survivors Network (ISN) have given a cautious welcome to Islington Borough Council’s announcement of its Support Payment Scheme (SPS) for survivors of abuse in children’s homes.
The abuse team at law firm Leigh Day also represents a number of people who were abused as children whilst in the care of Islington Council. The SPS was announced in mid-October following a six-month consultation in which ISN was fully involved.
The Leigh Day team is pleased to see that some of ISN’s key proposals have been included following ISN’s input.
It welcomes the increase of the pay award from the £8,000 suggested by Islington Council to the £10,000 proposed by ISN during the consultation.
It is also pleased to see that, in response to ISN’s proposal, the SPS will make payments for cases of peer-on-peer abuse and neglect.
However, the Leigh Day team understands that a number of families will be affected by the fact that there will be no payment made for survivors of abuse who have died in the years since 2017 when the SPS was first proposed.
And it shares ISN’s disappointment that the scheme will still exclude many who were subjected to abuse under Islington’s care, for example, children in foster care and those whose experience occurred outside of the date ranges specified by the council.
ISN was established in 2014 and Alison Millar and Andrew Lord of Leigh Day have represented them since 2017. Campaigning by ISN and their members meant that Islington Council previously admitted culpability for the abuse perpetrated against children in its care by children’s home workers and foster carers, and the SPS was later mooted in 2018.
ISN was therefore disappointed that its significant role in the consultation, in which it submitted the views of 84 survivors of abuse in Islington children’s homes and foster care, was not directly acknowledged by Islington Council. Alison’s team shares ISN’s view that Islington Council should have been proud to pay tribute to its specific input instead of referring to just 43 consultation responses.
Alison Millar, head of the abuse team at law firm Leigh Day said:
“We are pleased that Islington Council is introducing a scheme to provide financial acknowledgment to some survivors of the Islington children’s homes scandal; this complements the existing support and trauma services for survivors funded by the Council.
“This will not prevent survivors who may have civil claims for compensation asserting their rights.
“It is disappointing that the significant number of children who suffered abuse in Islington foster placements in particular are excluded from this Scheme. We also wait to hear from the Council the mechanics of and timescales for implementation of the Scheme and how it will be made accessible to survivors in a way that meets the stated aim of avoiding retraumatisation.”