‘Consultation over £8k payouts to survivors of care home abuse’

Islington Tribune, 9th April 2021

A CONSULTATION on the council’s plans to award cash to survivors who were abused in children’s care homes over a 40-year period has been launched this week.

Those who suffered sexual, physical and mental abuse while in Islington Council’s care could receive £8,000 in a “Support Payment Scheme”.

The council has emphasised that it is not a “compensation scheme” as victims are still able to take the council to the civil court to get a possible larger financial settlement.

However, any final compensation agreed in court would have the £8,000 deducted from it.

It is estimated that around 2,000 people who lived in care homes run by the council between 1966 and 1995 could be eligible.

Systemic abuse took place in what Town Hall chiefs have described as the “darkest chapter” in the council’s history. Last summer one woman was awarded £35,000 in compensation after she was sexually abused by members of staff and other children at Gisburne House – a large children’s home run by Islington Council in Watford.

A support group, the Islington Survivors Network (ISN), was set up by Dr Liz Davies, who first blew the whistle on the scandal more than two decades ago when she was employed as a social worker by the Town Hall. She said: “We welcome the opportunity to respond to this consultation and we will be contacting all the survivors, more than 200 we know of, and we will seek their views to inform the consultation.”

Dr Davies added: “I would have thought by now we would have a list of all the homes. We know of 46 but there could well be more. Having a list of homes would be helpful for the survivors to know. Some of them won’t even know they were in Islington’s care – they were put in private homes, boarding schools and all sorts of places for care.”

The council has said in the past that it intends to establish a database containing information on “known perpetrators”.

Carmel Littleton, the Town Hall’s corporate director of people, 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.

“Consultation has now begun 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 would especially like to hear from abuse survivors; people who were placed in Islington Council children’s homes between 1966-1995; and support groups for survivors and people who were placed in Islington Council care between 1966-1995.”

Comments on the consultation – which was launched on Tuesday – can be submitted until May 18. To respond to the consultation visit www.islington.gov.uk/consultations/2021/non-recent-child-abuse-proposed-support-payment-scheme

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