ISN Response to Support Payment Scheme Consultation

Islington Survivors Network Response to Consultation: Islington Council Non-Recent Child Abuse Proposed Support Payment Scheme

Abuse is Abuse

Abuse is Abuse it shouldn’t depend on the number of times it happened
Abuse is Abuse
Abuse is Abuse no matter where it took place
Absolutely this should not be ignored Abuse is Abuse
Why not? Abuse is Abuse
Why not? Abuse is Abuse
Abuse is abuse no matter where you live
Abuse is Abuse
Abuse is Abuse no matter where or when it took place
Abuse is Abuse it doesn’t matter where it happened
Abuse is Abuse in any form of disguise Abuse is Abuse

Repeated phrases by Islington Survivors Network respondents to the issues raised by the Support Payment Scheme Council proposal

Acknowledgements

84 ISN survivors and 4 former LBI staff who responded to the ISN consultation document
Leigh Day solicitors: Andrew Lord and Alison Miller
Eileen Fairweather: Investigative journalist
Demetrious Panton: Campaigner and lawyer

In memory of the 8 ISN survivors, including Director of ISN Bobby Martin, who died waiting.

1. Introduction

1.1 Context to the Support Payment Scheme (SPS)

‘Tonight’s meeting includes a report relating to abuse of children in Islington’s care homes in the 1980s and 1990s. It is no exaggeration to say that this was the darkest chapter in the council’s history. Children, placed in our care, were subjected to terrible physical and mental abuse which, understandably, has had a deeply traumatic effect on those who are now adults and continue to suffer.’ ‘As Leader of Islington Council I want to say again we are deeply sorry for the council’s past failure to protect vulnerable children. Although the word ‘sorry’ feels inadequate, I offer this apology to every single person who has been scarred by the events of that terrible time. Today it is our duty as a council to do the right thing and to try to address the failings of the past. The report recommends that the Executive as a whole formally apologises for past failures, and I am sure all my colleagues will strongly support this recommendation.’

‘In recent years, we have worked closely with many survivors of this abuse. We are grateful for the help we have received from the Islington Survivors Network, and for the support they offer to survivors.’

‘Demands were also made for full compensation and support packages for survivors, who continue to suffer the lasting effects of abuse. Cllr Watts said work was underway to provide this support and stressed the local authority today had learned the mistakes of the past.’ ‘Work is underway to provide support for survivors who continue to suffer the lasting effects of abuse’. ‘We were culpable and the council systematically failed people. From the 70s to 90s children in Islington’s care were subjected to terrible physical and sexual abuse.’ ‘It is time to put right the mistakes of the past.’ ‘I apologise on the part of individual members of staff and the system collectively.’ Richard Watts, Council Leader at meeting of the Council Executive: 28.9.2017: Minutes Template (islington.gov.uk)  Islington Gazette 28.9.17 

28th September 2017 was the first time ISN survivors gained an apology and admission of culpability from the council. When reading quotes from survivors in this report, it is important to remember that they have lived their whole lives dealing with the impact of an abusive childhood in Islington’s care where they should have been nurtured and safe. September 2017 was already decades too late. It was the first time ever that Islington survivors had a voice at a Council Meeting.  Even the ‘90s when the scandal was first exposed by survivors and whistleblowers, was already too late because Islington Council certainly knew about the abuse before then and had done nothing.   So whilst the SPS is welcome, it came about following yet another wait of 3 years from the time when the Council apologised and expressed a commitment to put right ‘the mistakes of the past.’ Meanwhile hopes had been raised by promise of a financial settlement and the delay magnified existing trauma adding to feelings of uncertainty, anxiety and distrust.  

As the SPS is presented as part of the Support Package the Council must also be mindful of the recommendation in the Sarah Morgan QC review (2018). ‘The direct contact I had with victims and survivors helped me to understand… the need to be able to trust that what is being offered will be enough and will not be taken away.’ She recommended that support services must be lifelong and enduring. The SPS is the third strand of Islington council’s survivor support services and, whatever the timescales of the actual payment scheme, support must be in place for as long as it is needed in the aftermath of the process.

ISN REPORT: KEY POINTS

  1. The payment to be increased to £10,000
  2. The scheme to be inclusive particularly relating to fostercare placements and ‘peer on peer’ abuse
  3. The scheme must not add to injury in requiring, obtaining and assessing evidence for the scheme.
  4. The administration and delivery of the scheme to comply with principles of natural justice and, at every stage of the process, be fair, reasonable and equitable.
  5. Islington Survivors Network, as key stakeholders, to work in co-production with the council throughout all future planning, development, implementation and evaluation of the scheme.
  6. Childism, as a form of oppression and discrimination central to the experience of non-recent child abuse, must be acknowledged, understood and integrated within the Equalities statement.
  7. Islington Council, with Islington Survivors Network, to research, plan and resource a legacy project to provide a long lasting public archive and record of the Islington child abuse scandal.
1.2: ISN survivors’ responses to the announcement of the SPS

‘It’s been hard bringing it all back.’

‘But it isn’t about money, it’s about TRUTH’

‘It was not easy contacting ISN and acknowledging that my life is still so much affected by my childhood in LBI children’s homes and the abuse which I was brainwashed to accept as normal for so long. It was not easy then to accept I needed support from the very people that were employed to care for me years ago and almost 5 years on I’m still waiting for closure.’

‘I just hope everybody gets what they deserve as a lot of people have been affected long term and are still suffering today – this never leaves you.’

‘The Scheme needs to have some clear principle as to how it will operate.  It should gear itself not to add injury to those who have already suffered from abuse.  Therefore, it should be purposive in its approach.  This approach must be to seek to bring a recognition outside of the cold legal framework that people were hurt and badly let down by the Council.  That victims were denied an apology and an agreement that LBI was liable.  That there are some whose cases would not meet the threshold of being successful in a court case but still need redress.  The Scheme must state from the onset that its purpose is not to bury or even to salve the conscious of the Council.  Instead, it is about doing the right thing in the easiest and less stressful manner.’  (Demetrious Panton)

 ‘I think it is good news that Islington Council are finally doing something after so many years of people waiting for some acknowledgement of what happened to children in their care homes.’

‘Survivors who come forward separately from ISN MUST be informed [by the council] of our website and contact details so as to have the opportunity to have the assistance that ISN survivors will get.’

’I was abused in many ways. What happened to me should not of happened.’

‘It has been a very long wait since the promise in Sept 2017.

‘I think the council would go a long way to repair some of the serious permanent damage they have caused children that were in their care by making it as easy as possible for all of the survivors to get this money which is not a lot at the end of the day. Most importantly they must let Dr Liz Davies take the lead because she is trusted by survivors and has the expertise through many years of her amazing work.  The council must do this if they want it to work.’

‘The overwhelming feeling is that survivors are being paid off because of lack of official documentation in their files  to support individual claims but their hands are tied so they feel they have no choice to accept 8000 (10,000) they know its ‘not a quick fix’ and it doesn’t erase the memories.’

‘LBI are trying to offer a small amount to avoid civil claims through the courts’

‘The payment should be labelled as what it really is. Calling it a support payment dodges responsibility. Maybe it should be called a donation.’

‘Although very grateful to ISN, I feel that this has brought up so much pain in terms of the abuse suffered and all the bureaucracy around what qualifies as abuse and whether there’s enough proof.  I also fit into criteria ambiguous such as foster care and private homes although under the so-called protection of Islington.  I can also say that still today, a large part of the trauma still lays buried and I constantly experience flashbacks and dissociation disorder and issues relating to everyday living such as self esteem and mental wellbeing; being able to access employment, having a child with severe and complex needs that I can NEVER trust a local authority to care for because of my own experiences. I struggle every single day to believe in myself and fear that I will go to the grave having not benefitted fully from life due to the harm of sexual, physical emotional abuse as a consequence; there is no payment for that. I am extremely grateful to have accessed treatment for trauma through ISN.’

‘Thanks to the ISN team with this payment some survivors can leave the past and finally look to the future.’

‘I am deeply relieved that Islington is finally offering support to survivors of its horrific earlier childcare regime, and am impressed by the willingness of the current council and officers to work so well with ISN.
The provision of counselling services is also admirable, as is the council’s commitment to providing a payment scheme which does not force survivors to relive trauma.
I am however certain that a line can only finally be drawn under this nightmare time if guilty parties are brought to justice, and the council play an active part in that.
Child rapists never stop hurting children, and every abuser whom LBI, to its shame, allowed to walk free remains a danger.’ (Eileen Fairweather)

1.3: The background

Islington Survivors Network formed in 2014 and registered as a non-profit making company in 2017. Following campaigning and meetings with the council the first mention of ‘compensation’ was made at a Council Executive Meeting on 29.9.2017. It is from this meeting which was attended by over 50 survivors that hopes were first raised about civil justice in the form of financial reparation to survivors. In December 2017 ISN lawyers Leigh Day Solicitors presented to the Council a redress scheme proposal on behalf of ISN based on a similar scheme in Lambeth, which was the result of a campaign by the Shirley Oaks Survivors Association. Council Leader, Richard Watts acknowledged this proposal on 22.12.17 stating, I wish to assure you of the councils continuing commitment to work closely with Islington Survivors Network.’ On 22.1.2018 he wrote, ‘the council is fully committed to keeping in contact with Islington Survivors Network.’ By February 2018, the local media was already following up the ISN campaign saying there must be no delay in ‘compensation.’ (Islington Tribune, 25.2.18)

Matters appeared to be progressing when ISN and our lawyers attended two meetings with the council and the insurance company lawyers, the first on 16.5.2018 and second on 28.9.2018, when ISN were informed of the council intention to consider options for ‘a more humane redress scheme.’ The council at this time acknowledged that the civil individual claims procedure was re-traumatising for survivors and they were seeking an additional, quicker and different way forward. At a Question Time meeting, on 3.10.2018, with the Council Leader who made further public apologies for the child abuse scandal, ISN survivors were told following the meeting by Richard Watts that, ‘100% you will get your redress scheme.’

On the 10.12.18 the council wrote to ISN solicitors stating that the council was, ‘to appoint a firm of solicitors within the next few weeks to develop a financial support scheme for Islington survivors for consideration by the council.’’  From this point the word ‘Redress’ vanished from the language of the council and the ISN proposal had been ditched.

By 5.4.19 the council again wrote to ISN solicitors stating that, ‘An external firm of solicitors was instructed to develop a scheme to provide financial support payments and other support to Islington survivors and the council is currently considering the draft scheme prepared by those solicitors.  … It is anticipated that a scheme will be submitted for approval to the Executive committee in July.’  This was the first of several dates which were not realised and which led to ISN survivors becoming increasingly frustrated and distrustful of the council agenda. By 3.7.19 the Islington Gazette raised the issue of delay and again on 20.9.19 the Islington Tribune raised the issue of delay in the council’s response saying survivors felt ‘stabbed in the back.

On 6th November 2019, ISN wrote to Richard Watts, Council Leader, saying that his apology, in the absence of any communication from him about the promised redress scheme, now appeared to survivors as, ‘empty words.’ We informed him that, in a period of 3 years, not one individual compensation claim had been settled and that the process was, as he had stated, far from ‘humane’. In response ISN received a letter on 13.11.2019, informing us that in future all correspondence had to be submitted through the council’s legal team and expressing that he wished ‘ the rules on this were different.’ Cllr Watts advised us that significant progress was being made despite some financial and legal hurdles remaining to be overcome. We were advised to expect to receive a proposal for a financial support scheme by January 2020 to be presented to a meeting of the Council Executive. He acknowledged that civil claims took a considerable time to be settled and were legalistic in nature. The support scheme being proposed, he said, was designed to be straightforward and as quick to access as possible and ‘ it would be sensitive to the needs of survivors and is being designed to minimise the need for survivors to relive the past or risk future trauma.’ ‘I am very sorry to hear about survivors being affected by the delay .. unfortunately designing this scheme is legally complex and I too am frustrated at how long it is taking.’

Once again hopes were raised but the actual proposal was so vague and ISN did not understand the concept of a ‘financial support scheme’. In a letter from Islington lawyers on 23.12.19 to ISN solicitors they referred to correspondence from ISL lawyers, dated 6th and 24th June and 2nd December. It stated that, ‘we are currently working with the council regarding a possible support payment scheme for the survivors of historic abuse to complement the wider support encompassing counselling and advice which is already available.’ The council lawyers said they were not in a position to meet with ISN. ‘As soon as we are in a position to do so we will contact you further’ but this never happened. There has been no meeting prior to the scheme being launched in March 2021.  ISN solicitors attempted to gain further clarification. The promise for a proposal in January, as in July, came and went. On 24.1.2020 Islington lawyers responded to ISN solicitors saying they, ‘were not contemplating the introduction of a redress scheme… That a ‘scheme to provide for a support payment is both legally and practically complex.. they are doing everything they can to progress matters as quickly as possible …the scheme currently being considered is designed to sit alongside rather than to replace the civil litigation process…and all future contact regarding this matter should be via our respective firms.’

By May 2020 the Islington Gazette reported that the council said, ‘the position remains we are working hard on a scheme.’(Islington Gazette, 6.5.2020) and the Tribune similarly (17.7.2020) gained the response, ‘We will update ISN when this proposal has been developed further.’  ISN, in this Report,  cannot go into all the correspondence between our legal team and the council lawyers. But by July 2020 our solicitors wrote to the council noting, ‘We have received no substantive update as to progress since the 19th February 2020’ and stating that, ’the continued failure to implement the promised financial scheme increases the potential for individual survivors to feel that they have been let down by the council.’

ISN had also raised some funding through Crowd Justice (www.crowdjustice.com) to pay a barrister for an opinion as to the best way forward in the absence of a response from the council or of any direct communication with ISN on the matter. This was money well spent and the barrister’s advice guided ISN’s campaign for justice.

Then Covid-19 lockdown set in and all things were put on hold until ISN were informed of the scheme in March 2021. Also by this time more ISN survivors had died without justice.  

1.4: Report methodology

On March 10th 2021, following a very short briefing with Islington managers and the author of the SPS,  ISN received documentation from Islington Council concerning a proposal for a Support Payment Scheme (SPS). ISN posted a response form with a return envelope to 160 survivors and 15 supporters who are former LBI residential children’s home staff. The form was designed to more clearly organise the content of the varied and complex council documents and obtain the views of survivors in relation to the suitability of the SPS. It also provided links to available council documents relating to the scheme. These were posted on the ISN website: Support Payment Scheme – Islington Survivors Network Survivors were offered an ISN phone call to help to complete the form and 14 took up the offer.  ISN received 84 completed forms from survivors and 4 from supporters. ISN sends and receives more of these every day.

The council SPS and other documents are referenced in this report as follows:

LR: Non Recent Child Abuse Proposed Support Payment Scheme: Report of Council Leader: 18.3.21  

App A: Proposed Islington Support Payment Scheme: Terms and Conditions

App A2: Scheme Proposal and Scheme Proposal Map

App B: Proposed Support Payment Scheme: Consultation Statement

App D: Resident Impact Assessment

RF: Response Form Non Recent Child Abuse Support Payment Scheme Consultation: 6.4.21

LCCP: London Child Protection Procedures 2021

ISN, in this response, has collated the survivor responses, according to the 5 topics listed below as stated in the App B proposal document.

Under each topic are subheadings for specific areas of concern. The percentages of numbers of survivors who commented are included in order to illustrate areas of consensus and difference. Also included are quotations from survivors which informed our analysis.

  1. Guiding Principles for the Scheme
  2. Eligibility of who would be able to apply to the scheme
  3. The evidence requirements for payments
  4. Arrangements for making an application and scheme length
  5. How the scheme might be delivered including equalities issues that need to be considered

We have also added comment from:

  1. Eileen Fairweather the freelance investigative reporter who initiated the 1992 newspaper campaign which first exposed the LBI child care scandal and who has remained actively involved in the issues since that time
  2. Demetrious Panton, campaigner and lawyer.

NB: Weblinks are stated in full for ease of access.

Abbreviations:

DWP: Department for Work and Pensions

IRP: Independent Review Panel

ISN: Islington Survivors Network

ISP: Independent Service Provider

ISTS: Islington Survivors Trauma Service

LBI: London Borough of Islington

LCC: London County Council

NRAT: Non-Recent Abuse Team

PIE: Paedophile Information Exchange

SPS: Support Payment Scheme

1.5: The limited time period for the response

Islington Council SPS Proposal – the consultation process

To reduce barriers to taking part, and further encourage participation to a fair consultation, responses will be collected via written or verbal feedback. It is suggested that a verbal feedback approach is offered to those who may find it challenging to complete the consultation response form. The feedback sessions will be conducted by those with independence and expertise in engaging with survivors. Ethical principles such as ensuring confidentiality and anonymity, minimising the impact of harm on those throughout the consultation and respect for individuals through informed consent and the use of language will be embedded (App B)

ISN learnt about the SPS in 10th March 2021. It was reported in the Islington Gazette (18.3.21) that the council had been preparing the SPS since November 2018. Yet ISN had only 6 weeks to respond to this consultation. We gained a 2 week extension but this very limited time period was extremely difficult for us to meet because we were determined to consult survivors in Islington Survivors Network. Many have no access to the internet and are not on social media. So we organised a PO Box and arranged a mail-out. Due to Covid-19 we have not accessed our office or post since February 2020 and with shielding and lockdown it has been difficult to meet up as a group in order to carry out the ongoing work of ISN. The time limitation was not considerate of the task of effectively consulting ISN survivors. ISN is an independent organisation. It is a non–profitmaking company with 5 survivor directors representing the interests of over 200 Islington survivors. This expertise, developed over the last 7 years, was not recognised or valued by the council during the process of this consultation.

1.6: The Council response form

On 6th April Islington Council sent out a Consultation Response form to survivors using the addresses from the Non- Recent Abuse Team database which included 119 contacts. Sending the council consultation form to a select group of ISN survivors, before ISN had time to even brief them, caused confusion as to why some had received this and others had not. Some survivors thought that they were already being ‘denied a payment’ or had ‘missed the deadline for application.’  ISN received very many calls at this time from survivors wondering what it was all about. One woman, who had not previously contacted ISN, thought the council form was from ISN.

We had requested that ISN was mentioned in the accompanying letter as offering advocacy and this one line was then included in the council email but was later removed from the hard copy letters sent to a few survivors who did not understand why the advocacy role of ISN was not mentioned. Some survivors therefore received the council response form before the ISN form and this led to much confusion. ISN contacted as many survivors as possible to explain that the council form was in fact a council document and sent selectively to only those survivors for whom the council already had contact details.

Islington Council SPS Proposal
The SPS is intended to form part of a wider support scheme encompassing trauma counselling, specialist advice, support and assistance for care, housing, appropriate welfare benefits, access to further education and suitable employment and access to care records (LR:9)
We have a dedicated team on hand. To request support, an online meeting with our specialist independent facilitators to give your feedback or to request documents in an alternative format please contact SPS.Consultation@islington.gov.uk (Letter/email sent with Council SPS consultation form to 119 survivors:6.4.21).

The council also offered a new Support Team (the name caused confusion with the NRAT Support Services) to assist in completion of the form. Survivors did not know these support staff (and ISN still only know one of the names).The new team were not briefed by ISN despite our offer to do so. On reflection, however well-intentioned it was, ISN think it was wrong of the council to pre-empt the ISN consultation process.  Much of the difficulty could have been avoided if ISN had worked in co-production on the scheme as we work with the council in relation to other support services – Islington Survivors Trauma Service (ISTS) and the Non-Recent Abuse Team (NRAT).

ISN are concerned about the offer of support to survivors both during consultation and also during the implementation of the scheme – whether by administrative staff or a dedicated support service. We know that 119 survivors (most are also known to ISN) already gain support from NRAT and ISTS. The process of consultation has already led to survivors needing additional support from these 3 sources. In the process of application and throughout the implementation of this scheme – the role of NRAT and ISTS must be clarified and agreed by all involved in the best interests of survivors. Already there has been too much confusion. Although ISN, NRAT and ISTS have bi-monthly meetings this subject has not been discussed as yet.  ISN consider that such discussion must take place as soon as possible and the outcome inform the SPS development and planning process. ISN, NRAT and ISTS have the expertise and knowledge much needed by the SPS if it is to work effectively.

1.7: ISN denied contribution to development of the SPS

In recent years, we have worked closely with many survivors of this abuse. We are grateful for the help we have received from the Islington Survivors Network, and for the support they offer to survivors.’ (Richard Watts, Council Leader: 28.9.2017).

Islington Council SPS Proposal

The council is proposing to consult ISN survivors and other stakeholders on the proposed SPS. The Executive will need to conscientiously take into account all responses received to the consultation when deciding whether to establish the final SPR (LR:8.2.7)

Engagement and participation in the consultation will be encouraged from survivor and key individuals or organisations including those working with or representing survivors. Views and feedback will be welcome on the scheme. Council will give due consideration to all points received (App B)

If the proposed SPS is approved it is intended that consultation on the SPS will take place with the ISN and other key stakeholders (LR:1. 1)

ISN do not understand why, as key stakeholders (LR 1.3), we have not been consulted at any stage about the development of this payment scheme when we have since 2015 worked constructively and co-operatively with the council in the design, delivery and evaluation of the other support services. These services are innovative and much valued.  ISN considers that if we had been included in co-production of this non-legal process then we would have had much expertise to contribute to the development of this scheme. In our many attempts to engage in a conversation about this proposal over the last 3 years, ISN were constantly informed that the council could and would only communicate via the ISN legal team. We do not understand this attitude given that SPS is not a legal process, not a compensation or redress scheme and is a third strand of the support services which ISN already co-produce.

We note that a similar flat rate payment scheme was awarded to the Child Migrants in 2019 by central government. The Child Migrants Trust has the responsibility for the process of applications and yet ISN has not been involved by the council in any aspect of the planning of the Islington SPS or in any discussion about how we might best contribute to the process.

https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2019-02-26/debates/51FB55EA-FEE0-4795-BFDC-5E3DB97D6113/FormerBritishChildMigrantsPaymentSchemehttps://www.gov.uk/government/publications/payment-scheme-for-former-british-child-migrants-guidelines/payment-scheme-for-former-british-child-migrants-guidelines

2: Guiding principles for the scheme

2.1: The purpose of the SPS

Islington Council SPS Proposal

To provide financial support for eligible survivors of non-recent abuse suffered when in the care of LBI social services (RF:1, App A:G2)

To provide a financial support payment of £8000 to eligible survivors of non-recent abuse suffered when resident in the council’s homes between 1966 – 1995 (LR:8.2.6)

2.2: ISN response to the purpose of the SPS

98% of 81 ISN respondents said the payment should be at least raised to £10,000.

Survivor responses

‘The overwhelming feeling is  that survivors are being paid off because of lack of official documentation in their files  to support individual claims but their hands are tied so they feel they have no choice to accept 8000 (10,000) they know its ‘ not a quick fix.’

‘LBI are trying to offer a small amount to avoid civil claims through the courts.’

‘The payment should be labelled as what it really is. Calling it a support payment dodges responsibility. Maybe it should be called a donation.’

‘I was shocked and horrified when first notified of this amount and would like to know how this amount was agreed upon and who represented Islington’s Survivors.’

I believe 10k is fair although many of us had a very traumatic experience however we need to close this chapter now.’

‘No amount of money could repair the damage done. The experience I had in care – it’s like they have taken my life, taken my soul. How can 8K possibly make up for that?’

‘I struggle every single day to believe in myself and fear that I will go to the grave having not benefitted fully from life due to the harm of sexual, physical emotional abuse as a consequence; there is no payment for that.’

‘I don’t think you can put a price on abuse.’

‘Trauma is unquantifiable so more is definitely better.’

‘No amount of money can take away the memories I have.’

‘I am 63 this year and still traumatised.’

‘Amount should be extended to £10,000 in recognition of the severity of harm survivors experienced whilst in the care of Islington Council.’

‘There isn’t an amount of money that can put it right.’

ISN survivors questioned the basis on which the council had put forward the figure of £8000.

Not sure on what basis £8000 is calculated’

‘The £8000 seems arbitrary and not clear why the figure has been arrived at. Not clear its linkage with the personal injuries scheme. However it does look on first sight more generous than the Harms Way payment which was part of the Lambeth Redress scheme.’

‘As the aim of the scheme is not just to help applicants practically but to demonstrate contrition and the council’s belated expression of care and concern, a more generous sum would be a healing gesture.’ (Eileen Fairweather)

2.3: The objectives of the SPS

Islington Council SPS Proposal

The comparatively straightforward nature of the scheme and the fact that the payment is fixed means survivors can access it without the need for legal representation (App A:G8)

To facilitate a support payment to eligible survivors through a process that is as straightforward and quick to access as possible and minimises the need to re-live past trauma or the risk of further trauma or harm (Q1, App A:G3)

The proposed Support Payment Scheme (SPS) for persons who suffered emotional, physical and sexual abuse whilst resident in the council’s children’s homes from 1966-1995. The proposed SPS will enable abuse survivors to receive a financial support payment without having to bring a civil compensation claim. It has been designed to enable eligible applicants to receive a payment more quickly than having to go through the trauma of a lengthy civil compensation claims process (LR:1.1)

It is not a compensation scheme and does not seek to evaluate in financial terms the consequences of abuse suffered (LR:4.1, App A:G4)

To make the scheme as straightforward and accessible as possible (RF2, App A:15-21)

Payments made through a process that is as straightforward and quick to access as possible (LR:4.1)

It is recognised that going through the civil compensation claims process may re-traumatise an abuse survivor as they are required to relive their experiences (LR: 3.4)

2.4: ISN response to the objectives of the SPS

When asked if they thought it was fair to have a flat rate (ie: if you were in a children’s home for a week or for years the payment would be the same) purely in order to keep the SPS process simple to administer, 67% of 80 ISN respondents said they did think that a flat rate was fair but 33% said this was essentially unfair. 

‘I do like the flat rate but some may deserve more.’

However, 97% of 79 ISN respondents nevertheless responded that, whether or not they thought the flat rate approach unfair, it was the right approach to achieve a quick and straightforward payment in order to alleviate further trauma. For those who said a longer time in care meant more suffering and deserved more money – when asked – they overwhelmingly said that although unfair they preferred a quick resolution. These views reflect the need for survivors to get closure and to move on and for financial support to be a simple process even though there is an obvious injustice in it, especially when there is no alternative for those who cannot achieve a civil claim. Richard Watts, Council Leader, in 2018 referred to the need for a more humane system of payment than that of a civil compensation case which can take over 5 years to reach a resolution and the need for extensive evidence is traumatising for survivors.

Survivor responses

‘I think this scheme is long overdue.’

‘We have waited long enough.’

‘I think a payment should be ASAP.’

‘We should get QUICK PAYMENTS.’

‘I expect everyone would want a simple process and to bring the matter to an end.’

‘To avoid further anguish.’

‘Survivors have waited over 40 years and suffered years of abuse.’

‘Survivors should have been paid long before this. Also this is not a quick fix.’

‘We have been through so much and it can only be of benefit to have something quick and straightforward.’

‘No one wants to have to have to relive any of the trauma they have been through so a simple fair and quick process would be ideal.’

‘Survivors have waited YEARS for some closure. Should be quick and straightforward.’

 ‘To avoid causing more stress on each individual, payments should be dealt with quickly.’

‘A lot can happen in a week.  My view is that length of time in a home should not be a determinative factor.  What should be determinative is whether you suffered abuse whilst under LBI’s care.’

‘No need for a long arduous process.’

‘Yes otherwise you could be waiting years.’

‘Survivors hopes have been raised by the announcement of this scheme, and many are in desperate circumstances, as well as understandably cynical about the council, so swift payment is crucial. They do not need the anxiety of wondering when and if they will ever be paid.’ (Eileen Fairweather)

Survivors overwhelmingly responded to the idea of flat rate with a reluctant wish for resolution. If a flat rate can be delivered in an expedient way without adding to the trauma clearly survivors would welcome this in the absence of any other choice in the context of a humane, speedy solution.

Survivor responses

‘I think it is near impossible to differentiate damage.’

‘The survivor’s network is also a means to get support. No money in the world would take away all the memories.’

‘Abuse is abuse it shouldn’t depend on the number of times it happened.’

‘I think it is near impossible to differentiate damage.’

‘Abuse is Abuse.’

‘You could suffer abuse whether you spent a day or more.’

‘The long lasting effect of trauma can be the result of one experience.’

‘Yes but after a flat rate has been paid out those more severe cases should be reviewed to receive further compensation.’

‘A 3 month placement with a paedophile carer could be as damaging as an entire childhood spent in care, if no abuse took place. So, yes this system seems a reasonable way to avoid quantifying suffering purely through length of time in care. That said many were in LBI care for years AND suffered abuse throughout. They should be encouraged and actively assisted in obtaining a civil compensation.’ (Eileen Fairweather)

3: Eligibility of who would be able to apply to the scheme

3.1: Eligibility: ‘Survivors placed in an LBI children’s home’

Islington Council SPS Proposal

Survivors who were placed in an LBI children’s home by LBI during the relevant period; That the applicant was a resident in an eligible LBI children’s home, having been placed there by the LBI (RF:3)

Survivors who were placed by LBI in an LBI run children’s home between 1966 and 1995 and who suffered emotional, physical abuse and/or sexual abuse there, other than purely ‘peer on peer’ abuse (App 1:6.1)

LBI children’s homes; A home contained within the list of scheme homes at App 1. The list may be amended during the operation of the scheme should this prove appropriate (App A:1.6)

A list of children’s homes has been compiled. It may be necessary in the course of running the scheme to add homes into or exclude them form this list (App A2:6.2)

Where LBI had responsibility in place of the applicant’s parent (RF:3)

3.2: ISN response to ‘survivors placed in an LBI children’s home’

As LBI has not yet published the list of children’s homes (App1 unpublished) clarification of this aspect of eligibility is undefined.  ISN have researched the ownership and running of homes and has now published an evidenced list of 42 LBI children’s homes on the ISN website:  Islington Children’s Homes – Islington Survivors Network . Prior to the publication of the ISN list, 66% of 79 respondents said they would like ISN to clarify which of the children’s homes they were in were owned and run by LBI. 34% said they did not need this assistance.

Survivor responses

‘I was placed in 5 homes and know they were run by LBI.’

‘ISN to define council run home. Needs to be clear and transparent.’

‘Clarity would be good.’

‘All mine in Islington were run by LBI.’

3.3: Eligibility: ‘survivors placed within the agreed time period 1966-1995’

Islington Council SPS Proposal

To provide a financial support payment of £8000 to eligible survivors of non-recent abuse suffered when resident in the council’s homes between 1966 –1995 (LR:8.2.6)

Ongoing review of the scheme may determine that the agreed time period 1966-1995 be varied (App A2:6.3)

3.4: ISN response to ‘survivors placed within the agreed time period 1966-1995’

74% of 77 ISN respondents said that the time period was acceptable to them. The minority of 26% disagreed because, although a minority, they fall outside the scheme for this reason. To exclude them is to discriminate against them on the basis of their age (age 56 years upwards). As an example the person who describes being in care from 1955 for 18 years would not be included in the scheme until she reached the age of 11 years, as only the last 6 years would count for the SPS. Survivors over age 56 years access the Non-Recent Abuse Team and ISTS proving that Islington historical abuse cannot fit conveniently into the Council’s definition of a relevant time period. What is the logic to exclude them from this financial aspect of the Support Schemes?

Survivor responses

From 1955 I was in care for 18 years.’

‘Because it might still be happening to other residents of care.’

‘I was in Beecholme from 1951-56 and it was under LCC Miss Rouisse was my Islington social worker.’

Islington children in the care of the LCC prior to 1966 are still Islington children who were abused. Islington children in Islington children’s homes after 1995 are still Islington children who were abused. The White Inquiry Report did not put an end to child abuse in Islington. Far from it.

 ‘I was in Beecholme 1951-1956.’

‘Yes because LCC were responsible for placing children in appropriate homes before 1964 like myself in 1954.’

‘I was LCC from 1955.’

 ‘What happened to survivors in care before 1966??’

‘Children were being abused long before 1966, don’t they count?’

‘The time from start of established abuse.’

‘I cannot express enough that the time period should be flexible as although the White Report was published in 1995 I strongly believe and can back up with thousands of pages of evidence that it still took some number of years before things got better – if they did much at all!!  Hence my significant civil claim.’

Some survivors suggested different dates. 6 said 1960-2000, others said 1950s-2000. However, ISN’s view is complete flexibility with a case by case approach. It would be heart breaking to tell one ISN survivor who is in her 80s and who is still haunted with childhood memories of abuse, that she has no claim to this scheme.

Survivor responses

‘This has to be a bit flexible at least a few years either way.’

‘Should be longer.’

‘1966-97 unless it can be proved that no abuse took place outside those years.’

‘Does it matter ? – You were abused.’

‘For me it is but others may not agree.’

‘Abuse, neglect and sexual is the same no matter what year.’

‘I don’t imagine that all abuse in LBI’s care ended in 1995 (the year the Ian White report was published), especially as most guilty, inadequate or complicit staff, managers and officers were never named or disciplined, and many continued to run LBI’s children’s services. A reflection of this is that there have been almost no criminal prosecutions, despite LBI’s admission by now that masses of children were severely harmed while in its care.’ (Eileen Fairweather)

3.5: Eligibility: Children’s placements which are excluded from the SPS

Islington Council SPS Proposal

This scheme is based on 2 categories: 1. Where LBI had responsibility in place of the applicant’s parent and 2. That the applicant was a resident in an eligible LBI children’s home having been placed there by LBI.

Given this scheme is in response to abuse within LBI run children’s homes, applicants who were abused in circumstances such as foster care, children’s homes that were not run by LBI or Boarding Schools and abused by other residents in children’s homes would not be eligible to apply for the scheme (RF:3)

3.6: ISN response about including LBI foster care placements in the SPS

Recent legal claims prove that LBI can be held liable for civil claims arising for abuse by a foster carer, so to exclude foster placements contradicts the council’s direct liability for this group for survivors. Islington Council has informed ISN that the council has lost all foster care files of every kind – assessments, foster family details, records of children placed, complaints and allegations made, disciplinary action, holidays, finances etc. It is as if none of these placements ever happened apart from some minimal references on the individual childhood case files.  ISN has collated the names, details and evidence from survivors relating to 71 foster carers both positive and negative experiences.It is important to question which managers decided on the policies and selected specific foster carers for specific children as the BASIC scheme illustrates (Bail Accommodation and Support in the Community). More information about the BASIC scheme is on the ISN website:  Islington Foster Care – Islington Survivors Network

One survivor’s account also illustrates the inequity amongst siblings that would be caused if children in foster care were excluded. In this situation are 4 sisters, all of whom experienced abuse whilst in the care of Islington. However, only two would qualify for this scheme.‘My family consists of myself and three sisters. We were all taken into care in one form or another between 1970-1997. Two of us were in several children’s homes and foster homes. One was fostered from a few days old and the youngest was taken in by me at 13 years old to try and prevent her from entering the care system. Unfortunately at 15 years old she became mentally unwell and was admitted to a mental health facility for 6 months and given a social worker. She was moved into a hostel just after her 16th birthday. All four of us separately suffered from different forms of abuse while in care. However, under the current Islington guidelines only two of us are able to apply for the support scheme. This seems very unfair.’

Further information about abuse of children in LBI foster care is available on ISN website: Islington Foster Care – Islington Survivors Network 

98% of 81 ISN respondents said that foster care must be included in the scheme.

Survivor responses

‘The main abuse I suffered was in foster care – so I hope children placed in foster care will be included. The issue for me has been the impact on my racial identity not least there should have been a paternity test which was available in the 60s. Our [myself and my sister] whole life has been predicated on our identity which was completely false. Our racial identity was consistently raised in the notes and our believed to be then father denied paternity – so this was neglect.’

‘Given the proposal dates 1966-1995 and not to include children in foster care I feel this is totally unfair and biased towards children in LBI homes. Suggesting as foster children we didn’t endure physical or sexual abuse to the same extent as those in children’s homes is ridiculous. I have felt all along that we foster kids are totally left out and the focus is on children in care homes. We don’t seem to be as important. Being in a foster home gave us no security, or support from our peers. We were absolutely without a voice with no one to listen let alone what we were telling them being believed by social workers or other adults or carers.’

‘I was still under the “care” of Islington when abused placed within a foster family.  Am I to understand that I wasn’t relevant or important enough to be regarded for not being protected fully?’

‘Foster care must be included!’

‘No question abuse in foster care should not be ignored.’

‘Abuse is abuse no matter where it takes place.’

‘Absolutely. This area should not be ignored abuse is abuse.’

‘Why not,  I was in foster care all my life and experienced abuse for several years without any peer support or from a sw.’

‘Because the council placed the children in foster care where the abuse occurred.’

‘The scope of the scheme should be broadened to include abuse whilst in foster care in addition to the finite list of children’s homes run by Islington Council.’

‘Yes because the council should be regulating and vetting foster parents it’s through the council that they became foster parents.’

‘Absolutely.  Surely the starting point is not whether you were abused in a children’s home but whether you were abused whilst in the care of LBI.’ 

‘I know someone that was abused by her foster parents before she got moved to my home.’

‘I was still under the “care” of Islington when abused placed within a foster family.  Am I to understand that I wasn’t relevant or important enough to be regarded for not being protected fully?’‘Absolutely. Islington had a legal and moral duty of care to every child for whom it arranged a placement. Some children were abused in foster care, including because former LBI staff selected foster carers who were abusers, and fostering agencies which employed paedophiles. Adequate checks were not made and staff, parents and children who protested were ignored. Islington in other words was complicit with abuse and neglect within foster care, whether deliberately or through indifference.’ (Eileen Fairweather)

3.7: ISN response about including LBI run group foster homes in the SPS

Islington as responsible for some group foster homes (which were small children’s homes). These must be included in the SPS. Residential staff, after children’s homes closed, were given children to foster and yet were not assessed as foster parents. Referred to by the responsible senior council manager, Clifford Heap, who was Assistant Director of Social Services for Day and Residential Care (1971-80),  as ‘experiments,’ this disgraceful policy led to all forms of child abuse.  99% of 84 ISN respondents said these placements must be included. Further information about these homes is on the ISN website: Islington Foster Care – Islington Survivors Network  Further information about Clifford Heap is on the ISN website: Clifford Heap – Islington Survivors Network

Survivor responses

‘Why not? Abuse is abuse.’

‘Abuse is abuse no matter where you live.’

‘Should all be under the same umbrella definitely. Definitely I spent time in one it was painful.’

‘Islington management developed the policies that handed children over to unqualified, unassessed staff. They placed children in these group foster homes which then led to sexual, physical emotional abuse and neglect. So why would these homes be left out?’

3.8: ISN response about including Islington children placed in LCC children’s homes in the SPS

The LCC held responsibility for Islington children in care up until 1965 when the London Boroughs were established. In the interests of equality and fairness, this change of management should not be used to exclude survivors many of whom were cared for by the LCC. Regardless of where the strict legal responsibility lies, all LBI survivor support services have to include Islington survivors placed by the LCC, just as these survivors are already included in the remit of the existing two LBI support services (NRAT and ISTS). 91% of 80 ISN respondents said that children in the care of the LCC from Islington must be include in the SPS.

Survivor responses

‘It’s only fair they should be included too.’

‘Yes if they are still alive.’

‘If LBI had a duty of care to that individual that was abused, then yes.’

‘Yes because LCC were responsible for placing children in appropriate homes before 1964 like myself in 1954.’

‘I was LCC from 1955.’

‘I was in Beecholme from 1951-56 and it was under LCC Miss Rouisse was my Islington social worker.’

‘LBI took over them so it’s down to them.’

3.9: ISN response about including LBI placements in Non LBI children’s homes in the SPS with reference to Hutton Poplars children’s home

In 1966, Islington Council Minutes state that 119 children were placed at Hutton Poplars from Islington. The children placed there were the responsibility of the LCC but in 1970 the London Borough of Hackney took over the ownership. In the early 70s many Islington children were moved from Hutton into LBI children’s homes under a policy to bring children in care to placements within the Borough. As with all non-LBI run children’s homes this is one example of why ISN consider

LBI has a duty of care towards these survivors. Further information about this home is on the ISN website: Hutton Poplars – Islington Survivors Network This was the view of 94% of 80 ISN respondents.

Survivor responses

Yes they were all Islington children Yes LBI has a moral responsibility for their children.’

‘Yes LBI has a moral responsibility for their children.’

‘Yes – there was a duty of care.’

3.10: ISN response about including LBI placements in boarding schools and secure units in the SPS

30 ISN survivors attended Boarding schools many a long distance from London and, as they were education placements, were often without social work support. Placements would be made by Islington Education Department. ISN have heard accounts of from survivors of Shawcroft, Shaftesbury and Shephall Manor Boarding schools among others including experiences of extreme violence by staff.  55 ISN survivors were placed in secure units from Islington – some were placed directly through the courts and others from the care system. Stamford House was most frequently used by LBI and more information about children sent to this secure unit is on ISN website: Stamford House – Islington Survivors Network .These placements were often engineered by residential home managers as a brutal form of control when such placements should have come clearly under the management of the fieldwork services. The power some residential managers had was absolutely inappropriate and was used also to threaten children in the children’s homes they managed. ISN know that when some children spoke out about abuse they were swiftly moved into secure units where they experienced further abuse often involving extreme violence, sexual abuse and being locked up for days/ weeks on end. 90% of 81 ISN respondents said boarding schools and secure units should be included in the SPS.

Survivor responses

‘The LBI and their agents are working a program based upon a limitations of damages. They are morally and ethically responsible for the damage that was wreaked upon children. It is like the Nazi governor of Poland shipping out his Jews to Auschwitz and saying they weren’t in his care when they went up the chimney. The LBI should fully face up to all of its responsibilities and to the right thing and do so in the right spirit.’

‘As a survivor I was placed in secure unit and had really bad time in Middlesex Lodge. Also Duncroft, Barnardos (Nun). Had some bad times but pleasant ones as well.’

‘I think that people that’s been abused in boarding schools that was sent there by Islington Council should be in the scheme because they sent them there. I think these [council] papers you sent out is interrogation. We should not have to prove anything’

‘Yes – the qualifying requirement for accessing payment for this scheme should not be premised on which home you were in. It should be placed on whether under LBI care you were sexually/physically abused in a setting (including foster homes/ boarding schools etc). The question is, did during the period of abuse LBI have a Duty of Care to that young person. If the answer is affirmative then surely they must qualify.’

3.11: ISN response about including placements by LBI in bed and breakfast and other hotel accommodation in the SPS

95% of 79 ISN respondents said that survivors placed as children in Bed and Breakfast or other hotel accommodation should be included in the scheme. As survivors state some were as young as 14 years old and exposed to abusive adults in unsuitable accommodation with no support. ISN know of situations where children were forced to leave a children’s home or foster placement and left to their own devices in these unmonitored, unregulated forms of accommodation.

Survivor responses

‘Children should not be placed in unsecured accommodation in the first place.’

‘Yes this is a form of placement.’

‘Yes some children were only 14/15 yrs.’

‘We were placed in care to be kept safe.’

‘I was placed in B&B and it is a form of neglect.’

‘They were still in their care.’

‘Because that’s abuse in itself.’

‘Were they sexually or physically abused?  Did this take place whilst LBI had a duty of care.  If the answer is affirmative on both counts then yes.’

‘Placing any under-age child in a Bed and Breakfast, without supervision and support, and exposure to unchecked adult strangers, automatically put them at great risk.’ (Eileen Fairweather)

3.12: ISN response about including in the SPS all places where LBI placed children in their care and where abuse took place

Islington Council SPS Proposal

Qualifying abuse

Emotional, physical and or/ sexual abuse committed by, or aided abetted, counselled or deliberately procured by a person who was at the time employed by LBI or was providing child care services to children on behalf of LBI on a voluntary basis (App A:1.8)

ISN has learnt of many instances when managerial decisions about placement of children were made by abusive managers. In fact, the head of Residential Care Services was Clifford Heap between 1973 and 1980. For more information on Heap see ISN website: Clifford Heap – Islington Survivors Network. All placement decisions must be considered in the context of the overwhelming influence abusive residential staff had over children’s destiny. Field social workers were marginalised and frequently tried to counter some of the decisions made or decisions were made during extended periods of industrial action when social workers were not available. For more information about the impact of the strikes on children in care see ISN website: Industrial Action – Islington Survivors Network. Most importantly, ISN insist that the scheme has to consider, on a case by case basis, when placements where ‘aided and abetted counselled or deliberately procured by a person who was at the time employed by LBI or was providing child care services to children on behalf of LBI on a voluntary basis’ during the time when abusers, employed by LBI to manage and work in residential children’s homes, were facilitated and allowed to have decision-making power over placements.

Survivor responses

‘At the end of the day the council places those children in harms way. They could always help bring abusers to justice.’

‘LBI should be held accountable regardless of what placement we were in.’

‘The damage is just as significant regardless of the type of placement.’

‘Although very grateful to ISN, I feel that this has brought up so much pain in terms of the abuse suffered and all the bureaucracy around what qualifies abuse and whether there’s enough proof.  I also fit into criteria ambiguous such as foster care and private homes although under the so called protection of Islington.’

‘Other organisations and authorities were paid by LBI to provide services to keep children safe which the homes did not. More importantly the child had no choice of where they went.’

‘Yes if you were in the care of Islington where you lived is redundant. All parties that were known or associated with unlawful conduct should be accountable as no one is above the law.’

‘Whatever the abuse was the point is the abuse took place whilst in the care of LBI.’

‘I was in all listed as this was where most abuse happened at the end of the day. LBI had a care order on me (so) not my fault.’

‘Any child who was abused and Islington had any input about their care should be included.’

‘All child within the care of LBI should be covered by this scheme.’

‘The most awful abuse took place. We as children had no voice. I reported only to be ignored leaving me with low self- esteem considering what next.’

‘A girl in our home was placed in boarding school and then came back to our home for holidays.’

‘Yes LBI put us there,’

‘If LBI placed children where they were abused then it should be down to LBI to put in a safe system for them.’

‘Abuse is abuse no matter where or when it took place.’

‘LBI placed them there.’

‘LBI should regard any child they put into care as in the scheme.’

‘The child played no part in decisions where they were placed.’

‘I think the borough that actually places you in the home is responsible. It should not matter where they place you.’

‘If placed in private places by LBI then they will be responsible – they should be included.’

‘None of us had any decision as to where we were placed. The LBI put us in different places paying different organisations to provide us with safe environment which was not always so. It is therefore LBI’s responsibility to do their best for all of us that have gone through and are still going through Harrowing abuse.’

‘Most certainly no abuse should go unnoticed, Islington is responsible.’

Islington took children from their families to safeguard them. Islington are responsible for that child care regardless of where they live.’

‘If a child is under LBI care they should be compensated no matter where they stayed.’

‘Why should that even be an issue?  It’s child abuse no matter where it happened and if Islington were involved then they have to take responsibility.’

‘No matter whether we were placed in or out of London, LBI were still responsible as they had full care orders on most of us so either way LBI should be held accountable regardless of what placement we were in.’

‘The scope of the scheme should be extended to cover a wider range of children’s homes, including children’s homes which were out of area in which survivors were placed by Islington Council and in which they suffered abuse.’

‘Absolutely. LBI had a duty of care for all children under social services care, wherever it placed them.

Paedophile staff across the country often knew and helped and promoted each other, and passed victims on to each other. LBI staff were amongst them.

There are also many instances of LBI staff placing children in units out of borough about which there were known, grave concerns (e.g. New Barns special boarding school, run by founding members of the Paedophile Information Exchange, including Charles Napier), but ignoring those concerns, when voiced by worried staff, parents and traumatised children. LBI even ignored appeals from police in several other areas of the country. Whether LBI staff and officers acted so irresponsibly through ineptitude, indifference or corruption is irrelevant to the righteousness of the survivors’ claims, who suffered as badly as children in homes in Islington, indeed sometimes suffered even more, because they had been exiled to the brutal care of abusers many miles from anyone they knew. They literally had no one to turn to, not even friends or a trusted teacher or relative.’ (Eileen Fairweather)

3.13: Eligibility:  ‘Abuse by other residents in the children’s home would not be eligible to apply for this scheme’ and qualifying abuse must be, ‘other than ‘peer on peer’ abuse

Definition

Sometimes ‘significant harm’ refers to harm caused by one child to another (which may be a single event or a range of ill treatment) and which is generally referred to as ‘peer on peer abuse.’ (London Child Protection Procedures 2021: 1.1.6).

Islington Council SPS Proposal

The applicant suffered qualifying abuse during placement (App 1 3.1, App A2:8.1)

Scheme in response to abuse within LBI-run children’s homes ‘abuse by other residents in the children’s home would not be eligible to apply for this scheme’ (RF:3)

Suffered emotional abuse, physical abuse and/or sexual abuse there, other than any purely ‘peer on peer’ abuse  (App A2: 6.1)

3.14: ISN response to the exclusion from the SPS of ‘peer on peer’ abuse

98% of 86 ISN respondents testified within this consultation to ongoing, systematic peer on peer abuse, at all ages and in every placement setting. There are examples of media coverage (including on the ISN website: 14 Conewood Street – Islington Survivors Network ) about homes being completely out of control and children left to care for themselves which allowed a context of peer on peer abuse to happen. This cannot be excluded from the SPS. Knowledge of the hierarchy of abuse informs all policy and good practice as when there was a culture of abuse in any children’s placement this culture would be reflected in the behaviour of some children. It would be one response to trauma caused by the abuse. Also importantly as Eileen Fairweather comments, ‘Peer on peer’ abuse is also an inadequate and deceptive term, as a small girl raped by a teenage boy, as some were, was not her ‘peer’.

Survivor responses

‘Some homes encouraged this type of behaviour and staff were aware of children having sex and ignored it.’

‘Definitely. This went on and was ignored by staff!’

‘100%. If LBI staff were correctly trained and in the right environment no peer to peer abuse should have taken place, but it did (and often).’

‘I went through this.’

‘Systematic abuse by bullying was a common thing and staff knew of this.’

‘This is difficult one.  However, if it could be contended that the abuse emanated from a culture similar to adult/child abuse in the homes then surely yes.   Where children were not protected and indeed abused by adults in the homes – then there is likely to be some correlation with children/children abuse’

‘Scope of the scheme should include peer on peer abuse in children’s homes and foster placements.’

‘Because staff were still negligent.’

‘The supervision staff should have seen it.’

‘Absolutely I wasn’t just abused by staff but by my peers and they just sent our parents letters saying that boys were sexually experimenting when in actual case it was abuse!’

‘Apart from sexual abuse I also was the victim of severe racial abuse from both staff and children

‘Yes it happened in the home, it’s LCC/ Islington Council fault. They have to protect!’

‘Yes I very strongly agree. I suffered self-harm through bullying also solvent abuse due to bullying Islington is responsible.’

‘All abuse is wrong and should be fully recognised as a criteria for the SPS. I witnessed this.’

‘As it is a result of lack of care and supervision by the paid caregivers.’

‘Because staff were meant to be supervising to ensure every child was safe at all times. Sadly they failed far too often.’

‘Children suffered abuse in care regardless of by whom or where. Islington is therefore liable because they were the guardians.

‘No care supervision or boundaries as well as no protection from peer on peer abuse from 5 years of age.’

‘Many homes turned a blind eye to ‘child on child’ abuse because sex abusers staffed the homes, and actively encouraged a highly sexualised atmosphere. This ‘normalised’ and facilitated their own abuse and helped groom a new generation of victims for them.    ‘Peer on peer’ abuse is also an inadequate and deceptive term, as a small girl raped by a teenage boy, as some were, was not her ‘peer’.The phenomenon of children being abused in care by other residents at best reflects a climate of indifference by staff and council, at worst collusion.’ (Eileen Fairweather)

3.15: Eligibility: Evidence of ‘Adverse Issues’ as a reason to deny access to the SPS

Islington Council SPS Proposal

The scheme does not exclude applicants with criminal convictions. LBI does however reserve its right to decline an application where there is evidence that the applicant has/ has had links to a terrorist organisation, organised crime, murder, manslaughter or paedophilia which are referred  to collectively as adverse issues…’ (App A: 2 9.1)

LBI reserves the right to decline an application where there is information and or material that the applicant has had an involvement in or connection to the adverse issues identified and stated at para 1.19 App A and it would in all circumstances be unconscionable for LBI to make a payment under the scheme. Where any such involvement is identifiedthe application will automatically be referred to the independent review panel to make the decision (App A: 6.1/2)

An application may be declined for ethical or moral reasons where an applicant has had an involvement in or connection to the following issues:

Terrorism/Links to a terrorist organisation/Organised crime/Murder/Manslaughter/Paedophilia/ (RF:6, App A:1.19)

3.16: ISN response to the exclusion of survivors with ‘Adverse Issues’ from the SPS

The responses to this were complex. 36% of 72 ISN respondents said that in some situations people with certain specific criminal convictions should be excluded but most, 64%, questioned this arguing that there is a causal link between crime and abuse in LBI care.

ISN do not agree to ‘paedophilia’ being included because this is one form of sexual crime – all categories of which are relevant. 

Survivor responses

‘I know I’ve been in jail and I wouldn’t of if I’d been in a better place.’

‘Paedophiles and murders should not receive any money.’

‘It depends on the circumstances around the crimes.’

‘Abuse is a nasty circle and there are people that have had no support or help and gone on to have traumatic times in different ways and these are some of them.’

‘Didn’t these survivors become petty criminals due to their abuse?’

‘Where survivors have gone on to commit crimes as a result of their abuse and depending on the crime exceptions should be made.’

‘The life you led later on may be from abuse you had in Islington homes.’

 ‘Exemptions if abuse was a contributing factor to the crime.’

‘A result of abuse tends to be law breaking.’

‘I believe it should be looked at case by case.’

‘Each case needs to be considered and ISN involved.’

‘Very complicated in that vulnerable people often follow what they have witnessed or been part of eg abusers have often been abused first.’

‘No one that goes on to become an abuser of kids do not deserve any profit from their own past abuse.’

‘People with serious crimes should be excluded.’

‘On an individual basis as advised by ISN.’

‘Anyone maybe apart from paedophilia as sometimes if your abuse in a home or elsewhere it can make you become a paedophile.’

‘How re LBI going to check. How will they establish someone’s criminal past?’

‘Yes (there should be exceptions] if the abuse can be related to causation of abuse from children’s home placements by LBI.’

‘I do believe any sex offender shouldn’t receive any compensation. However in regards to murder and manslaughter or organised crime the fact they were abused could’ve contributed to them living an isolated life where mental health may have played a part.’

‘I would like to see some clarity over what is classed as organised crime?’

‘The issue is that it could rule them out.  Not that it should.  Say for example an individual was sexually abused in a children home and then was later convicted for murder.  Should they be excluded if it transpired that the terrible act of murder was in part influenced by their experience of being sexually abused in a home?  Surely it would be better for the panel deciding whether to award a payment – to have the discretion to approve access to the scheme – even if on first blush it would seem reprehensible to give public monies to someone guilty of committing a terrible crime.’

‘I understand the rationale behind this law. But this should be judged on a case by case basis, as many offenders were victims of appalling crimes in childhood. I can think of at least one LBI survivor who was convicted of a serious crime but, once, was a sweet, loving boy, and a good friend of others in care. He appears to have become a very angry and disturbed man only after suffering dreadful abuse by Bernie Bains, the late paedophile former head of a children’s home , for whom LBI long covered up, despite endless alarm bells being rung about his abuse. That sweet boy was broken when Bains took him abroad, and he suffered ‘the worst night of my life’. He was then exiled to a home out of London, away even from his young friends. Does LBI still owe him some payment? Definitely. His is a story to make the angels weep, and a lesson in ‘to understand all is to forgive all’. (Eileen Fairweather)

3.17: Eligibility: The scheme is for living survivors not for the families of those deceased

Islington Council SPS Proposal

An application may not be made in respect of a survivor who is deceased (App A:1.19) 

3.18: ISN response to the exclusion of the families and/or estates of deceased survivors from the SPS

In September 2017, Islington Council apologised to ISN survivors for the abuse they experienced in care. After this date ISN were promised a redress scheme. Sadly, during the time when the council delayed for over 3 years, in devising a proposed scheme, some survivors died. These survivors had already begun preparation for the promised scheme. 95% of 79 ISN respondents consider that the families of those who died must be included in this scheme. This would have to be organised case by case and with utmost sensitivity.

In contrast, the Child Migrant payment scheme included the right to claim by the deceased survivor’s ‘estate’. ‘Alternatively, a claim can be made on their behalf by any person with a legal right to administer the estate of the former British child migrant.’ Payment scheme for former British child migrants: guidelines – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Survivor responses

 ‘As much as myself and my siblings were victims of abuse my late sister would still be alive to this day if LBI protected children properly. She suffered so much and this could have been prevented. This level of abuse cannot continue.’ 

‘My sister suffered so much she took her own life last year with nothing. So yes’

‘Justice has to be given to the remaining family.’

‘When survivors suffered it caused stress and harm to their relatives too. Its recognition.’

‘After living claimants have had payment.’

‘Especially children of survivors as they might not know parents situation in care.’

‘Yes just because they have passed does not mean they/their family does not deserve the smallest amount of justice available to them which is sadly only money.’

‘Absolutely – of course it would be dependent on whether there was a will or if the estate were established through probate.  One also has to be incredibly sensitive in this issue – what happened if the person who is now deceased was also let down by those who could inherit their estate.’ 

‘I can’t say maybe they do not want loved ones to know what happened to them.’

‘Yes families have too suffered as a result of the deceased suffering.’

‘I think that survivors who ISN were aware of in Sept 2017 – their relatives should get their payment.’

‘Many cases of children in care has resulted in early death by suicide, misadventure or addictions (in later life) due to the result of substandard care by LBI. This should be addressed.’

‘It shows a mark of respect for that person.’

‘Absolutely, the children of LBI abuse survivors will also have suffered through their parent’s pain.. Those children deserve automatic inclusion in the scheme.’ (Eileen Fairweather)

3.19: Eligibility: Offsetting any payment from prior compensation claims against payment from the SPS

Islington Council SPS Proposal

The scheme also requires any prior compensation payment to be offset against the scheme. In this situation the applicant will only receive the balance of the support payment that exceeds the value of any compensation payment already made or agreed (App A:G7:7.1)

Any previous civil compensation claim payments received by an applicant should be taken into account in assessing the amount of the support payment (RF:13)

3.20: ISN response to the offsetting of payments made in prior compensation claims

55% of 78 ISN respondents thought that it was unfair to deny survivors who had a prior settlement through an individual claim to be penalised by having the SPS deducted from the settlement. 45% said that it was acceptable for the sum to be deducted.

As the SPS is not a legal process it should not be conflated with a civil claim. Having a civil claim settlement does not prevent a survivor accessing the Non-Recent Abuse Team or ISTS support services so it is not logical to prevent these survivors from access to the third strand of the Survivor Support Services – the Support Payment Scheme. ISN have learnt of survivors who received small payments as ‘compensation’ settlements which included a statement that it was a final payment. Most were unrepresented.  ISN are clear that any such ‘agreement’ must not prohibit a claim within the SPS.

Survivor responses

‘If the council says it’s not compensation, they should not be deducting any of it from a civil suit.’

‘This is NOT FAIR.’

‘Not fair. We should have been entitled to full redress after the council’s acknowledgement in September’s meeting in 2017.’

‘Monies receives previously should not go against the individual.’

‘A lot of individuals who may have got settlements in the 80s and 90s did so under a more oppressive and less favourable regime then is now available.  In the 90s any young person who sought compensation from a local authority because of child abuse in a children’s home – ran up against major legal obstacles.  The first was the ‘Floodgate principle’ and which at the time was a leading legal authority.  In short in the 1990s a local authority could state that any claim against them would open the door to a number of similar claims.  Whilst this defence is unlikely to succeed now – it was the dominant doctrine in the 80s and 90s. The second major legal obstacle that any claim faced when arguing for compensation for child abuse in a residential setting was that up and till 1998 – an claimant citing breach of their human rights as child abuse would certainly constitute – would have to lodge their claim in Strasbourg.  The UK courts did not have jurisdiction to hear claims for breaches of human rights.  The impact was that in this hostile legal environment claimants were often advised to accept settlements less then what their case was worth because of the costs of bringing such a claim.  To deny individuals who settled in the 90s access to this scheme would add to a sense of unfairness and which they experienced because of the legal system in the 80s and 90s.  Further new issues have emerged since the 90s about the high level of complicity within senior Islington hierarchy (both political and operational) and which if Claimants had known at the time might have increased the compensation they received. Finally, recovering from child abuse is perhaps similar to PTSD.  For example in your 20s you think that you have overcome the abuse you have suffered and settled with LBI. Yet in your 30s when you have children the trauma comes flooding back or in your 50s when you lose your parents or siblings.’

‘A few survivors of the most gross forms of abuse received payments from LBI in earlier decades which were tied to gagging clauses and did not admit any liability; for example, Demetrious Panton, and victims of the paedophile allowed to take them out of 1 Elwood Street.  These payments were paltry in comparison to the severity of the offences. The survivors have also continued to suffer; PTSD, for example, sometimes only manifests later in life.’ (Eileen Fairweather)

3.21: Eligibility: The SPS payment to be taken into account for subsequent civil compensation claims against LBI for ‘abuse suffered in care’

Islington Council SPS Proposal

SPS has no bearing on any civil compensation claims that abuse survivors may bring save that it requires an applicant to agree contractually to offset any scheme payment received against any subsequent civil compensation claim payment  (App A:G7)

An applicant is required to agree contractually that the payment made under the scheme will be offset against and deducted from any subsequent related future civil compensation claim payment or agreement to make such a payment (App A: 8.1. 8.2)

The support payment from this scheme should be taken into account for any subsequent, related future civil compensation claim payments for the abuse they suffered in care (RF12)

3.22: ISN response to the requirement to take into account the SPS payment for subsequent civil compensation payments against LBI for ‘abuse suffered in care’

90% of 53 ISN respondents thought that it was unfair to deny a survivor the SPS payment if a settlement was subsequently paid to the survivor through a civil claim.

As the SPS is not a legal process it should not be conflated with a civil claim. Having a future civil claim settlement does not prevent a survivor accessing the Non-Recent Abuse Team or ISTS support services so it is not logical to prevent these survivors from access to the third strand of the Survivor Support Services – the Support Payment Scheme.

Survivor responses

‘This is NOT FAIR AT ALL!!’

‘So unfair.’

‘This should be treated as separate.’

‘If the council says it’s not compensation then they should not be deducting any of it from a civil suit.’

‘They should not do that,’

‘Survivors who have a legal case should not be deducted.’

‘The principle of the scheme must be not to add to a survivor’s injury.  Recovering from child abuse is an ongoing process and with many trigger points.  Some people who settled in their 20s are now suffering far more from what happened in their 50s.  Again, the independent legal panel should be able to reflect and see whether since any compensation was awarded or settled that person has suffered more damage from the abuse and which could never have been reasonably anticipated at the time.  Should they be excluded from this scheme and which was not available at the time?  The scheme is a way of Islington saying sorry to people who they let down terribly.  For some people being forced to go through the legal process because Islington were not prepared to say sorry added to the injury.  All the settlements in the 90s involved Islington saying that they were not liable and the payment was not an admission of liability.  This scheme says, yes Islington was liable for one of the worst scandals to affect public authorities and yes it is sorry.’ 

‘The few who have received payments to date only won them because their abuse was so severe. Yet the payments were derisory compared to what they would be today, including because no liability was admitted. Their sufferings, moreover, are lifelong.’ (Eileen Fairweather)

4. The evidence required for payments

Islington Council SPS Proposal

The SPS will facilitate support payments rather than present ‘obstacles to be overcome’ through a non-adversarial process’ It does not require or adopt any standard of proof. It requires only that there be credible information and/or material (satisfying the threshold criteria (App A:4.1) of an applicant’s eligibility (LR:4.1, App A:G6, App A2:7.2)

The scheme is intended to provide straightforward and accessible financial support to qualifying applicants, it does not involve the process of investigation and analysis that would be applied in a civil compensation scheme. (App A:8.2)

The applicants own account of the abuse suffered will be the key material for the scheme (Q1.3)

The scheme acknowledges and seeks to address the particular features of information or material – or the lack of- relating to abuse, summed up by the phrase ‘hidden and historic’. Whilst contemporaneous information or material may establish that a survivor was in care or at a given children’s home, it will seldom contain any indication of record of abuse. The survivor’s own account will be key material in relation to this (App A2:4.1)

Where there is credible information or material that the applicant was: Placed in an LBI home by LBI during the relevant period and suffered qualifying abuse during the relevant period (App A:3.5)

Emotional, physical, sexual abuse committed by or aided, abetted counselled or deliberately procured by a person who was at the time employed by LBI or was providing child care services to children on behalf of LBI on a voluntarybasis (App A:1.8) Suffered emotional abuse, physical abuse and/or sexual abuse there, other than any purely ‘peer on peer’ abuse (App A2:6.1)

4.1: ISN response with regard to the definitions of child abuse

To introduce this topic we are including the definitions of abuse from the London Child Protection Procedures London Child Protection Procedures (londoncp.co.uk) which reflect the national statutory guidance Working Together to Safeguard Children. Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018 (publishing.service.gov.uk)The SPS Proposal is based on definitions which differ from the national statutory guidance. ISN will refer only to the statutory guidance. ISN include the category of Neglect which is one of the 4 main categories of child abuse and was omitted from the Proposal.

Definition of child abuse:

‘A form of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm or by failing to act to prevent harm. Children may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting by those known to them or, more rarely, by others (e.g. via the internet). They may be abused by an adult or adults or another child or children ‘(London Child Protection Procedures 2021:1.3.1).

Definition of Physical abuse

Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child.

Physical harm may also be caused when a parent fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces illness in a child (London Child Protection Procedures 2021:1.3.2).

Definition of Emotional Abuse

‘Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent effects on the child’s emotional development, and may involve:

  • Conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person;
  • Imposing age or developmentally inappropriate expectations on children. These may include interactions that are beyond the child’s developmental capability, as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction;
  • Seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another e.g. where there is domestic abuse;
  • Serious bullying, causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger;
  • Exploiting and corrupting children.

Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, though it may occur alone’ (London Child Protection Procedures 2021:1.3.3).

Definition of Child Sexual Abuse

‘Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (e.g. rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing.1.3.4

Sexual abuse includes non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, including online and with mobile phones, or in the production of pornographic materials, watching sexual activities or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways or grooming a child in preparation for abuse (including via the internet). Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children. 1.3.5

In addition; Sexual abuse includes abuse of children through sexual exploitation. Penetrative sex where one of the partners is under the age of 16 is illegal, although prosecution of similar age, consenting partners is not usual. However, where a child is under the age of 13 it is classified as rape under s5 Sexual Offences Act 2003’ (London Child Protection Procedures 2021:1.3.6).

4.2: Evidence: There must be credible information and material satisfying the threshold criteria

Islington Council SPS Proposal

The scheme acknowledges and seeks to address the particular features of information or material – or the lack of- relating to abuse, summed up by the phrase ‘hidden and historic’. Whilst contemporaneous information or material may establish that a survivor was in care or at a given children’s home, it will seldom contain any indication of record of abuse (App A2:4.1)

Where there is credible information or material that the applicant was: Placed in an LBI home by LBI during the relevant period and suffered qualifying abuse during the relevant period (App A:3.5)

4.3: ISN response regarding the payment threshold

ISN asked survivors if they would like ISN assistance in the SPS process in defining this aspect of ‘Qualifying abuse’.

98% of 84 ISN respondents said that ISN must be involved in establishing the facts about credible information and material as ISN has expertise and extensive research to validate and provide evidence whereas the council has admitted to having no information about any children’s home or any information about employees – HR records, pension records, fostercare records and no care register of how many children were in the care system from 1966 onwards. ISN has collated lists, from research (media and council documentation), former LBI staff and survivor accounts, of over 1000 residential staff and 1000 children in 42 LBI children’s homes and documented incidents and statements about abuse.

Some ISN survivors have received no file from Islington Council and others very depleted, sanitised over-redacted versions. Some reports on files were written by managers and staff we now know to have been abusers. Survivors often do not recognise the history as presented in their files by professionals who did not see the abuse staring them in the face. Few survivors have on their files the residential care daily log records which should have been kept on the fieldwork file after the child left a children’s home.   The long, appalling history of Islington’s missing files is available on ISN website: Report #7: The Missing Files – Islington Survivors Network . ISN has experience of completing timelines on many survivor’s files which arrive in a disordered state and therefore over 5 years have gained invaluable expertise in this respect.

86% of 83 ISN respondents said they would like ISN to clarify for them the categories of child abuse in relation to what happened to them in care.

Survivor responses

‘This would help build a case.’

‘Clarification would be nice.’

‘ISN has the understanding of what we suffered as children and the effects now.’

‘Yes ISN has the files and understands the terminology. ISN has the proof.’

‘Yes because a lot of these happened in the homes I was in.’

‘The main problem is that a lot of evidence in the files is missing and therefore it is difficult to prove which categories of abuse a child has been victim. Yes please provide guidance on this.’

‘I have wanted to put this behind me for years. Yes I would like to know what ISN think.’

‘It is crucial.’

‘There are so many missing files. Mine included.’

‘Absolutely this is less traumatic for survivors.’

‘In my opinion ISN are the only professional body who have pushed for historic abuse to be looked into.’

‘Absolutely. The payment scheme should be like a harms way payment full stop. If a survivor has to prove abuse when there isn’t enough evidence, this would cause irreversible trauma.’

‘People will need help gathering evidence so Yes absolutely.’

‘Yes we have a database also files. Each person’s word, name, dates addresses- let’s use it.’

‘ISN should be subject matter experts.’

‘If not where does LBI get its information from? Seeing as a lot of the files disappeared or were damaged.’

‘In what world so they want survivors to relive their abuse alone?’

‘If they are acting as a third party on my behalf and can provide a timeline bundle then I’m all in for it.’

‘Of course this is needed.’

‘Any help from ISN would be appreciated.’

‘Would like ISN to support application.’

‘Yes the purpose of ISN.’

‘Yes if needed.’

‘Yes such information is invaluable.’

‘What about all the evidence that is missing.’

4.4: Evidence: The survivor’s own account will be the key material for the SPS

Islington Council SPS Proposal

The applicants own account of the abuse suffered will be the key material for the scheme (Q1.3)

The survivor’s own account will be key material in relation to this (App A2:4.1)

4.5: ISN response to the survivor’s account being the key material for the SPS

97% of 75 ISN respondents said that ISN must be involved in assisting their applications with evidence of the survivor’s account where requested and 96% of 81 respondents said they would like ISN to be involved in assisting with research and other evidence to support their claims.

Survivor responses

‘Cross reference of children’s case files is essential.’

‘ISN are a mutual body that has brought to light the child abuse in Islington.’

‘The survivors should no longer be interrogated. Their timelines, trauma therapy and ISN expertise are all that are needed as pro

‘Not every survivor wants to relive and open old wounds.’

‘Why should we have to keep talking about it taking place and no one cares.’

‘ISN should take the lead in survivors account.’

‘ISN as a representative has evidence.’

‘Especially if survivors engage and want ISN assistance.’

‘ISN will need to be funded for next 2 years to deal with supporting applications.’

‘So for me I have already started dreaming of 29 [Highbury New Park] since this questionnaire so the less the better for me personally with regards to information.’

‘This is crucial given that LBI ‘lost’ so many survivors’ files and the records of accused staff. This was confirmed by two inquiries in the 1990s, including the Ian White Report. White reported that the master copy of the child care database was destroyed ‘at the level of the Assistant Director’s office’. Records also mysteriously disappeared, including just days before the Old Bailey trial in 1992 of ex LBI residential worker Tom Yeomans for abusing a boy he attempted to foster. Yeomans’ trial was halted owing, the judge said, to lack of corroborating evidence. The judge told the young witness that halting the trial did not mean he did not believe him.’

Police who have helped campaigners over the years have commented that senior LBI figures ought, in a just world, to have been charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Instead, only ten years ago, I was forced to spend two days of my own time helping a survivor prove to LBI that he had been in its care. He was one of numerous victims of the vicious network paedophile Bernie Bains, but LBI told the victim’s lawyers it had no record of ever employing Bains – even though it had earlier compensated fellow resident Demetrious Panton for the abuse Bains inflicted – nor had any proof that the victim had ever been in LBI care. This process of denial of his very existence was so traumatic and abusive for the victim that he withdrew his attempt to achieve justice and was diagnosed with PTSD.

Given this appalling background, of course ISN’s invaluable expertise should be called upon in piecing together the stories of survivors whose abusers were repeatedly protected from scrutiny and justice, while their victims were not’ (Eileen Fairweather)

‘No one should ever have to rely solely on LBI’s records given it destroyed so many.’ (Eileen Fairweather)

4.6: Evidence: The SPS includes abuse committed by or aided, abetted counselled or deliberately procured by a person who was at the time employed by LBI or was providing child care services to children on behalf of LBI on a voluntary basis

Islington Council SPS Proposal

Emotional, physical, sexual abuse committed by or aided, abetted counselled or deliberately procured by a person who was at the time employed by LBI or was providing child care services to children on behalf of LBI on a voluntary basis (App A:1.8)

4.7: ISN response about including, in the SPS, abuse by visitors to the children’s home

Visitors were introduced to the premises by residential staff and managers and/or who sexually exploited the children and procured them for abusers. They may have accessed children by finding gaps in the protective systems when staff neglected their ‘duty of care’ through poor supervision. 96% of 79 ISN respondents said that the SPS must include abuse by visitors to the residential homes. This was a significant means by which the abusers regularly gained access to the Islington children. Picton was a residential worker in Conewood St but he abducted a boy from Elwood St. For more information on this abduction see ISN website: John Picton – Islington Survivors Network The boy was not abused by a man employed in Elwood St but by a worker from a different home who had resigned and then took him abroad for several months for which he was later convicted. This survivor was not abused by a person employed at the time by LBI and would not fit the current criteria for a claim solely with regard to this crime committed against him whilst he was in care and in an LBI children’s home.

Survivor responses

‘Absolutely. Surely the starting point is not whether you were abused in a children’s home but whether you were abused whilst in the care of LBI.  My experience of 1 Elwood Street was that some people would visit the home during school lunch time and then after school.  However, they were never residential in terms of sleeping at the home – no way should they be excluded simply because they were not resident at a children’s home.’

‘Police and freemasons often visited homes.’

‘Yes it should because abusers were brought in.’

‘Friends of relatives of staff may indeed be responsible for abuse.’

‘Because the number of people is inconceivable and the existence of the individual as would be hard to track down or they passed away. EG Jimmy Savile.’

‘Jimmy Savile was a ‘visitor’ and we all know how that ended.’

‘Yes because abusers were also brought in from the outside.’

‘Staff allowed friends of theirs to visit and abuse children.’

‘How do we know that these people did not collude with the staff working in the homes?’

‘We often hear of abuse which extended beyond LBI employees.’

‘For a worker to have been able to groom me and take me to someone outside of the home to abuse me, this worker cannot be traced yet she worked there for years and everyone I was in care with knew her. Justice has not been done. This leaves me feeling angry and disappointed.’

‘If LBI staff were correctly trained and in the right environment no abuse should have taken place but it did (and often).’

‘Also cleaners, janitors, gardeners and cooks.’

‘In Grosvenor Avenue a member of staff knew Jimmy Savile and tried to take us to the studios.’

‘We as survivors all know why the visitors were invited.’

‘Abuse is abuse in any form of disguise.’

‘Islington council should be responsible for vetting invites.’

‘This has a lot of ambiguity.  Employed should be amended to reflect that an individual may have worked in children’s homes but was never employed by the local authority – they could have been employed/working under contract etc. for an agency but still performing a service in a residential home etc. Further until recently foster carers were not classified as being employed.  They were considered as being self-employed.  The law now states that subject to context a foster carer can be classified as an employee.  However, this may not be the case for those foster carers of the past – some of whom may be deceased.  Therefore it is essential that significant questions are asked why LBI relies solely on the abuser being ‘employed’ by them.’

‘The paedophiles and/or incompetents running LBI homes frequently allowed sex abusers to ‘visit’ the homes and abuse children there or take them out on trips where they would be abused.  For example, Paul Lamb, a former policeman, has just received a 17 year prison sentence including for abusing an LBI child in care during his visits to the children’s home. A paedophile was also regularly allowed by staff to visit 1 Elwood Street during the 1980s. He is still at large and still targeting children.

Pimps and their customers were also regularly allowed to visit homes for older children, by workers and managers who refused to believe sensible staff, police and traumatised children, and claimed these older men with criminal records were just ‘ordinary’ boyfriends, and the children merely healthily ‘expressing their sexuality’.

These children were in fact being sexually coerced and sometimes attacked, including with knives.

One such victim was abducted and taken to Amsterdam to be prostituted, despite desperate pleas by police and good staff to LBI. That young girl died soon after.’ (Eileen Fairweather)

4.8: Evidence: The SPS includes abuse which took place by staff in an LBI home

Islington Council SPS Proposal

The applicant was placed in an LBI home by LBI during the relevant period and suffered qualifying abuse during the relevant period (App A:3.5)

The applicant suffered emotional abuse, physical abuse and/or sexual abuse there, other than any purely ‘peer on peer’ abuse (App A2:6.1)

4.9: ISN response about including in the SPS children abused outside the parameters of the children’s home

96% of 80 ISN respondents acknowledged that children abused in a member of staff’s own home, or when taken on holiday or to visit other adults, must be included in this scheme because they were in the care of LBI staff. This was a consistent pattern as the abusers would take children to places of isolation from which they had no escape. For more information on the systematic abuse which took place on children’s home holidays see the ISN website: Islington Residential Holidays – Islington Survivors Network

Survivor responses

‘We were brought by staff to be abused elsewhere.’

‘No matter where the child was/is based if they are under LBI they should be safe and correctly cared for.’

‘No because I believe it would be more traumatising for the individuals to relive it. I often get flashbacks when I was taken to sex nudist beach by Grosvenor Ave. I had no clear understanding why all these people had their clothes off and had to sit on laps and kiss, non-compliance for children meant mustard in their mouth.’

‘Those staff were employed by the council. They should have done proper checks.’

‘I was made to go on a PGL holiday were abuse took place.’

‘Abuse is abuse it doesn’t matter where it happened.’

‘Residential holidays must be included.’

‘I went to one home and my brother went to another home. At his home I was kissed by one of the staff and more happened. I felt violated. What then happened was I was stopped from seeing my brother in that home.’

‘We had 4 different superintendents in one home and we protested but children got moved as a backlash from the march. They tried to put me in Stamford House secure unit.’

‘Staff also had accommodation provided by LBI via local councils.’

‘Yes it should be clarified’.

‘Staff had most access at this point. l Remember they were paid to abuse us physically, emotionally and sexually while on a salary.’

‘Must include any abuse in a home by employed staff or etc. include peer on peer, visitors etc. or wherever abuse took place by a member of staff.’

4.10: Evidence: Neglect as one of the 4 main categories of child abuse is not mentioned in the SPS Proposal

Definition of Neglect

‘Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and / or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development.1.3.7

Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance misuse, maternal mental ill health or learning difficulties or a cluster of such issues. Where there is domestic abuse and violence towards a carer, the needs of the child may be neglected.1.3.8

Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent failing to:

  • Provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment);
  • Protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger;
  • Ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers);

Ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment.1.3.9

It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional, social and educational needs’ (London Child Protection Procedures 2021:1.3.10).

4.11: ISN response to the omission of neglect and need for inclusion

The London Child Protection Procedures clearly itemise neglect as a category of child abuse under the heading ‘Non-Recent historical abuse’.

‘Non-recent abuse (also known as historical abuse) is an allegation of neglect, physical, sexual or emotional abuse made by or on behalf of someone who is now 18 years or over, relating to an incident which took place when the alleged victim was under 18 years old.’ (LCCP 1.9)

97% of 86 ISN respondents said that Neglect must be included as a category of child abuse for the purposed of the SPS. Like other categories of abuse neglect often is included with emotional, sexual and physical abuse but it can be a single category. Also, Neglect is a criminal offence included under the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 (S.1) as updated by the Serious Crime Act (2015).

Survivor responses

‘Yes I do very much. Neglect is as painful as rejection.’

‘Some children, especially in foster care, were taken on purely for the cash, and left in cold, filthy ‘homes’ with adults so dysfunctional and uncaring that even a pet rescue service would not have used them.’ 

‘The lack of care affected their education and emotional peace of mind. Such indirect neglect should also be considered. In my situation for example I was not supported with travel to school and had to make a trip of 14 miles on public transport’.

‘Neglect is a very lonely form of emotional and mental abuse. I suffered horribly when being handed around placements.’

‘These people were paid to look after you but they starved you and allowed strangers to walk into the home, beat you and stole from you.’

‘As going into care was so you was not neglected. So to be neglected defeats the purpose of being in care.’

‘Neglect includes survivors wellbeing not safeguarded from third parties, they were exposed to drug misuse and sexual exploitation.’

‘I never had a choice who looked after me. I was neglected at my mother’s house so was put into care for my own protection and to receive the care my parents couldn’t or wouldn’t give me, so I should never have been neglected in the children’s home.’

‘Neglect leads to trauma and abuse.’

‘It causes harm and may lead to lifelong psychological damage.’

‘All abuse should be taken into account.’

‘I was robbed of my education.’

‘Abuse is what it is and the consequences are suffered despite the type of abuse. All forms of abuse should be addressed and compensated for.’

‘My view is that this is about abuse which has as its origin sexual or physical abuse.  It goes without saying that any child in LBI’s homes who were sexually abused or physically abused were also neglected.  However just because you were neglected does not mean you were subjected to physical/sexual abuse. During the material time (1966-1996) from my own memory the vast majority of children in LBI homes were neglected.’

4.12: Evidence: The definition of emotional abuse in the SPS does not specify racist abuse
4.13: ISN response to the need for inclusion of racism within the definition of emotional abuse in the SPS.

93% of 82 ISN respondents thought that the experience of racism should be included within the category of emotional abuse. Racism was endemic throughout many placements. As just one account on the ISN website see Bobby Martin’s account: Bobby Martin – Islington Survivors Network

Survivor responses

‘Most definitely because it went hand in hand with emotional.’

‘I witnessed racism and it was unacceptable.’

‘So much racism.’

‘Racism was high in the care system.’

‘Its not nice when your foster sister calls you the ‘N’ word.’

‘Racial abuse was prolific in the 60s and 70s.’

‘This affects identity and sense of belonging and acceptance.’

‘What about all the other forms of ism – sexism, homophobia etc.  Why single out racism.  Again, like my answer above – I think that the scheme is about addressing abuse within a sexual/physical context.  Of course, there was racism in the homes at the material time.  Indeed it could be argued that some of the abuse and indeed how it was handled once complaints were made – was done in a racist discriminatory manner.  Racism as with all other forms of discrimination could have had an additive quality to the injury suffered because of the abuse.  However again I contend that this is a discreet scheme established to address a scandal of people being sexually and physically abused whilst in the care of LBI.  Racism certainly during my time in care was a very pervasive element of LBI’s approach to children in care but it has also to be seen within the context of the time.  No amount of passage of time can ever justify sexual and physical abuse of children in care.  We may be a bit more generous to those who exhibited racist ideas in the 70s and 80s.  We can never offer the same generosity to those who sexually and/or physically abused children in care.’

‘Racial abuse equates to emotional abuse.’

‘Absolutely I also witnessed this abuse.’

‘I still suffer greatly today from the experiences suffered directly from racial abuse and today I torture myself trying to come to terms with it especially when most people I connect with professionally don’t have a thorough understanding of the long term effects it has had on my mental well-being.  I am severely triggered every single day. Because I feel I try to sweep some of what has happened to me under the carpet as not important and especially triggered by the way the government has indicated that racism doesn’t exist.  I was also unaware that racism was emotional abuse because it was also physical and sexual.  I was beaten up for being black, I was sexually abused …all to me today point to racism.  I also understand that my race was not the significant or specific reason I was sexually abused.’ 

4.14: Evidence: The separation of siblings is a form of emotional abuse when it is not based on an evidenced risk assessment
4.15: ISN response regarding the separation of siblings

ISN did not consult survivors about this, but it was raised a number of times by ISN survivors. For more information on this aspect of abuse in Islington see ISN website:  Northampton Park – Islington Survivors Network

ISN consider that it was often an abuser’s agenda to keep children separate from their close siblings to discourage them being effective witnesses to abuse or in general getting in the way of it. We do not think this is a farfetched theory. Siblings Together is a charity which states, ’Sibling relationships are the longest lasting in most people’s lives. Allowing these to wither for children often already deprived of parental support is a real injustice to looked-after children and is likely to result in huge costs to society from the impact on life outcomes.’  http://siblingstogether.co.uk/

4.16: Evidence: Physical abuse as defined in the SPS does not explicitly include PinDown as a brutal form of restraint
4.17: ISN response for the need for the SPS to include PinDown within the category of Physical Abuse

98% of 87 ISN respondents said that PinDown should be clearly included under the category of physical abuse for the purposes of the SPS. PinDown was clearly the restraint practice used throughout the Islington care system. 

The Pin Down Inquiry took place 1990-91 in Staffordshire. The pindown experience and the protection of children: the report of the Staffordshire child care inquiry 1990 – Social Care Online (scie-socialcareonline.org.uk) . It concluded that; “Pin Down was narrow, punitive and harshly restrictive”, and that under the system children suffered “despair” and “humiliation”. It consisted of “the worst of institutional control” was “inexplicable” and “wholly negative”. The report asserted that Pindown was intrinsically “unethical, unprofessional and unacceptable” and breached Community Homes Regulations and Secure Accommodation Provisions. It lacked professional oversight.

There has been no similar inquiry into the use of Pin Down in Islington children’s homes. Yet not only is it widely reported by ISN survivors, who still experience the trauma from being held down by brutal force, it was also a method promoted in internal LBI training courses for residential staff and said to have been validated by a psychiatrist as a trainer.

Pin Down was widely used at Gisburne and ISN have accounts of the exact same types of force used on young children by staff as described by former staff and the survivors. Staff have told ISN that they were trained in Pin Down by an Islington child psychiatrist and the head of the home. They report being told, if it didn’t work, to use any force necessary ‘do what you have to do’. Yet from 1968, Gisburne advertised itself as a training establishment for residential workers on a CCETSW (social work) course. It stated that Gisburne House was for full assessment of children and ‘interim therapy.’ They aimed to recruit those ‘interested in devising new assessment techniques for disturbed and deprived young children.’  No mention of course of the truth about the abusive regime that was in place in this and other LBI homes.

A former residential worker remembered that in the mid 80s Geoff Wylde-Jones held red carpet training events and described him as having charisma. ISN do not understand if the Islington Training Department had a role in monitoring and sanctioning this training. It appears, as it was in Staffordshire, than the residential staff held all the power over the children with minimal management oversight. Gisburne House – Islington Survivors Network

Survivor responses

‘I went to Cuffley home and was physically abused, and I phoned the police and went to hospital so I know you can trace this but it’s not in my files.’ 

‘Yes I experienced this form of punishment at the hands of the superintendent.’

‘PinDown was traumatic for children.’

‘Pindown was lightweight.’

‘You were provoked then pinned down.’

‘Individuals that age could not discriminate the difference between restraint and the level of aggression that would come with it.’

‘Surely because that happen to me often.’

‘Yes this should be included as did have the same effect on myself.’

‘I was pindowned loads of times. I even lost a baby due to this happening.’

‘All forms of restraint methods should be included eg limb and thumb holds and wrist twists.’

‘As I was pinned down on a regular basis and makes you feel powerless.’

‘Yes we experienced pindown when inexperienced staff were pissed off.’

‘Absolutely I was severely affected by these treatments. I feel no child should have to be pinned down in the way we were. I also believe and feel that some staff got off sexually when we were pinned down.’

‘All unwanted action against us/me should be taken into account.’

‘Pindown was a horror show as Alan Levy’s enquiry demonstrated.  If it happened in LBI’s home or something similar then it would constitute physical abuse and it should fall under physical abuse.’

‘If the power was indeed abused in restraint instances.’

‘I was never questioned about Pindown. But you received pin down multiple times because I didn’t like what was happening to me. I misbehaved and got locked in my room for up to 3 days.’

‘Some survivors were so damaged emotionally and internalised such a sense of shame that they may not even realise that the treatment meted out to them was abusive.’ (Eileen Fairweather).

5: Arrangements for making an application and scheme length

Islington Council SPS Proposal

4 stages of the application process:

A: Completion and submission of an application form by the survivor, with support
B: Confirmation checks to corroborate the identity of the survivor and to check for forgery and any adverse issues
C: Assessment of the application
D: Automatic review by an Independent Review Panel (IRP) in the event that the threshold to make a support payment has not been met at Stage 3 or that adverse issues are identified (App A2: 10.1)

This section is complex and detailed and the time period for response was inadequate. ISN expect to be in communication with the council in order to discuss the detail of the implementation of this scheme in co-production and in recognition of our expertise and knowledge. We have picked some headlines in order to respond as best we can in the limited timescale.

5.1: Stage A:Completion and submission of an application form by the survivor, with support

Islington Council SPS proposal

Application form is the form to access a support payment under the scheme (App A:1.15)

An applicant applies for the support payment by submitting an application form together with specified documents (App A:14.1)

Applications should be submitted to the Support Team marked strictly private and confidential and the following postal or email addresses (App A:14.1)

The survivor applies for the support payment by submitting an application form with specified documents. Details of the children’s home(s) and abuse are specified in the form (App A2:14.1)

Dedicated staff within the support team are available to support applicants in completing and submitting the application form. Contact details are included in the application form and will be provided to anyone who registers their interest in the scheme (App A:14.3)

Face to face meeting between Applicant and LBI representative offered to assist with completing the application (App A2.MAP:2)

The application form will be available online or in paper form. Assistance will be provided with the completion of form. It is proposed that this assistance is provided by designated LBI staff (App A2:14.2)

On receipt of the application LBI will check for/ obtain any social services records relating to the survivor (App A2:14.3)

Administration of the SPS

LBI locate any files/records for applicant and forward the application and any files/ records to ISP (App A2 MAP:5)

The administration of the scheme will also require input from LBI staff in relation to the processing of application forms, the provision of information and records and confirmation checks (App A2:11.3)

It is proposed that a team comprising an ISP, an IRP and LBI staff administer the scheme. This collective team be known as the ‘support team’ (App A2:11.4)

LBI support team administers the scheme comprised of a service provider, an Independent Review Panel and LBI staff who assist with provision of information, records and confirmation checks (App A:1.16)

5.2: ISN response to the process of making the application

88% of 83 ISN respondents said they would like ISN to assist them in the completion of the application form when it is available later in the year. 13% said they would not require help.

ISN expect to be in co-production in relation to this scheme and therefore look forward to working with the council in the writing of the Application form.

Survivor responses

‘Perhaps if there are things I can’t understand.’

‘As ISN has previously completed the timeline of my time in care and has knowledge of the abuses that occurred I would be very happy for ISN to submit the application on my behalf with full consent.’

‘Yes please.’

‘That way I would feel supported and not re-traumatised.’

‘I would need help.’

‘Maybe depends on the application form.’

‘Yes ISN receives funding for the survivors.’

ISN consider that the term ‘Support Team’ is confusing for survivors who are familiar with ‘Support Team’ referring to the ‘Non-Recent Abuse Team.’ We strongly suggest a different term is used for the administrative team and in fact throughout this SPS.

The filling in of an application form is no simple matter. App A2:14.1 confirms that the form will contain details of the children’s home and of the abuse. [The Child Migrants Trust took on this role in relation to the child migrant’s payment scheme because they were recognised as having the appropriate expertise.]  This is not an administrative task. This is a role for professionals qualified in awareness and knowledge of child abuse and survivors of non-recent abuse. This is a specialism for very good reason. There is a huge trust element in survivors being able to access this service because they recognise their need for assistance in form completion mainly due to the failings of LBI in their duty of care and educational / emotional neglect / impact of trauma.  The NRAT staff have learnt over several years how long it takes to earn the trust of survivors.  The difficulty of completing a form with an untrained stranger is not only shame at poor writing skills but that the form demands communication about children’s homes and child abuse.

‘A suggestion is to have someone to advocate for you in completing the form – ISN or another survivor to be with you or to submit it on your behalf with consent.’

ISN’s experience over 6 years in accessing files on behalf of survivors has shown that the provision of documentation is a complex task. To provide the ‘specified documents’ is not straightforward. ISN and NRAT’s experience is that this is time consuming and could take several weeks or even months to resolve.

Islington Council SPS proposal

LBI locate any files/records for applicant and forward the application and any files/ records to ISP (App A2 MAP:5)

ISN do not understand why the ISP require the applicant’s childhood file. ISN’s experience is that obtaining a childhood file is a complex process and ISN has worked with Adult Services to achieve a sensitive and safe way of achieving this.  It appears as if the SPS is circumventing this agreed and established process. ISN survivors mainly will already have their file and ISN can evidence their statements for the purpose of this application. ISN are unclear if the ISP also intends to access the survivor’s adult file. We do not consider this proportionate in the circumstances.

.

92% of 79 ISN respondents said there should be a confidential ID for every survivor from the point of application so that the applicant’s identity will be unknown. 

Survivor responses

‘Yes we should have an ID number for ease of future communication.’

‘It’s difficult as is coming to terms with – some survivors just want to be invisible.’

‘Confidentiality is so important to people who have been through trauma so this ID scheme is good idea and will give peace of mind.’

‘Some survivors may not have told anyone about the abuse.’

‘Yes considering it is the very council that was initially supposed to protect them I believe anonymity is crucial for some people applying to the scheme.’

‘Totally agree [with need for ID number].’

‘Confidentiality is a huge factor.’

‘Not sure how this would work. I am assuming that LBI would guarantee confidentiality throughout the process.’

‘This seems sensible if practical as the fear of being ‘outed’ as a victim of abuse is common. Anonymity will also protect the applicant from fear that their lives post care –  inevitably are not always smooth running – and maybe scrutinised or googled by the Panel, and held against them whether consciously or unconsciously.’ (Eileen Fairweather)

5.3: Stage B: Confirmation checks to corroborate the identity of the survivor and to check for forgery and any adverse issues

Islington Council SPS Proposal

The scheme is administered by the support team. Upon receipt of application initial confirmation checks will be carried out by the support team (App A:15.1/3)
The scheme will have an independent identity from LBI in all is correspondence and dealings (App A2:3.1)
To corroborate the identity of the applicant and to check for forgery and any adverse issues
These carried out in part by LBI staff, in part by ISP: see scheme map
Findings from checks are then forwarded to/ collated by the ISP (App A2:14.4-14.6)

Confirmation checks; The Scheme Process Map refers to two sets of checks regarding applicants.

Confirmation checks by LBI
Council tax base
Housing benefits
Housing records
Electoral role
Direct payments
LBI sanction check

Confirmation checks by ISP
Marriage records
Address verification
Bank account linked to address
Bank account not submitted previously
Fake/forged material
Media checks adverse information
HM treasury sanctions check
Intelligence data base adverse information
Representative checks, power of attorney, court order, appointed carer (App A2:6/7)

5.4: ISN response to the process of making confirmatory checks

ISN do not understand the logic behind the need for these extensive and intrusive confirmatory checks when they are not done at the moment in making file applications or to enable payments through the Support Services (NRAT/ISTS). It is our view that this requirement will in itself deter survivors from making an application and is in direct contrast to SPS objective of being ‘straightforward’ and is discriminatory against council tenants and those who happen to live within the Borough. It is exploiting, in these situations, information the council can easily access.

ISN do not understand the significance or necessity of these lengthy lists of checks. We note that the Child Migrants Payment Scheme requires checks similar to those ISN currently use for LBI file applications – proof of identity such as a passport and proof of address such as a utility bill. Details of the Child Migrants scheme checklist is available on: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/proof-of-identity-checklist/proof-of-identity-checklistAlso it must be recognised that 119 ISN survivors are already known to LBI services (NRAT and ISTS) as confirmed by the council using this data to send out the council response form.

5.5: Stage C: Assessment of the application
5.6: The Independent Service Provider should have appropriate expertise

Islington Council SPS Proposal

A need for the assessment of applications to be carried out by an independent body has been identified. The assessment of the applications will require the analysis of information and material. It will also therefore need to be carried out by individuals with appropriate professional expertise. It is therefore proposed that an independent service provider ISP with the necessary professional expertise for example a law firm be engaged to administer parts of the scheme (App A2 11.1)

An independent service provider ISP is an independent organisation with legal expertise (App A: 1.17)

5.7: ISN response as to whether the Independent Service Provider should have appropriate expertise

97% of 86 ISN respondents said that the Independent Service Provider should have knowledge of the history of the Islington child abuse scandal and an awareness of child abuse and the impact of abuse.

The team should have read every word of the ISN website which has been updated in part to assist lawyers, police and other professionals in this field.

Survivor responses

‘More than – this trauma informed.’

‘It is very important to know the history of the scale of abuse which took place in Islington.’

‘It would not be fair to have people involved who are not experienced enough.’

‘How else can they be effective otherwise?’

‘It will run a lot smoother if the people involved know what the issues are.’

‘Otherwise it’s just another betrayal; and I would oppose this scheme. Scandal.’

‘I think ISN should be part of the decision making process.’

‘Every survivor’s situation is different and the team have to have open mind.’

‘Knowledge of the history and awareness of employed persons connected to PIE’ [Paedophile Information Exchange].

‘Of course they should otherwise they may miss something,’

‘Of course or they wouldn’t be able to make a fair decision without knowledge, understanding and awareness.’

‘Let’s use the team and give them all the knowledge to fight for us, they are being paid.’

‘The legal team must be conversant with the relevant legal principles- including making sure that the payments are not ultra-vires.  The legal team must be able to engage with the history of Islington child abuse scandal and be aware in cases for example when an applicant has themselves a criminal record, to place their crime in the correct context.’

‘It should be a requirement of their appointment that they first read the bulk of news reports about the scandal, and all relevant independent inquiries. They should be quizzed about their knowledge of the wholesale abuse in LBI’s homes before being employed. If they do not do this essential preparation, they may well come to the task with prejudices about the credibility of survivors’ claims. But, as Detective Superintendent John Sweeney said on record of Islington, after taking over its child protection team in 1995. ‘I knew it was bad but I never imagined it could be this bad. It was heart breaking and appalling.’ (Eileen Fairweather)

Islington Council SPS Proposal

The application form/ material, any records found and the confirmatory checks will be assessed by the ISP. The ISP will consider any adverse confirmatory checks and their impact on the application. They will consider and assess if the children’s homes identified are covered by the scheme, if the applicant can be placed there within the relevant time period and if the applicant suffered qualifying abuse in the placement.
The ISP will request further information or material if this is considered necessary to assess the application.
The ISP will consider any adverse issues. If any identified the application will be referred to the IRP to assess.
If the ISP concludes that the threshold is satisfied a support payment will be made (App A2: 14.7-13)
The independent service provider will assess the application. When it is satisfied that the threshold criteria have been met and there are no adverse issues, as defined at 1.19, a support payment will be made (App A:15.3)

The Independent Service Provider to consider;
If home covered by scheme
If placement within relevant period
If applicant was placed by LBI in children’s home covered by scheme
Check material/records for evidence of placements – If none consider
Medical records
Corroboration by third parties

If applicant suffered qualifying abuse in the placement:
Account of applicant : consider overall impression:
also consider
Any record of alleged abuser (databank)
Any ‘similar fact’ accounts from other survivors (databank)
Any relevant investigations or prosecutions (databank)
Any corroboration third parties
Consider whether any further confirmation checks are appropriate
Social media
Further information from applicant
Consider any adverse issues and Assess, make decision, complete report (AppA2: 8 A-G)

5.8: ISN response to the role of the Independent Service Provider in assessment of eligibility

Account of applicant: ‘consider overall impression’ (App A2:8:A-G)

ISN do not understand how an overall impression can be made from reading a form about the survivor’s account. This requires much discussion with ISN as to how the credibility of the account is to be judged and who by. Judging the credibility of children’s and survivor’s statements about abuse requires knowledge of Statement Validity Analysis and is a highly skilled task. It also requires a trauma informed approach and understanding of dissociation, minimisation and the child abuse accommodation syndrome among other important theories and sources of knowledge. It has to be remembered when requesting an account of abuse from a survivor that they were a child at the time of the harm, had the understanding of a child and emotional responses of a child and were in a context of fear and terror. This requires an understanding of the world of a child and realising that accounts, particularly of regular and ongoing abuse and may not be chronological or have exact times/ places/ dates. ISN corroborate survivor statements through documentation, witness evidence, photographs, media reports and research.  The childhood care file may validate some aspects of the survivor account but disentangling the events of childhood in a context of trauma and abuse takes time and can only be at the pace of the survivor. ISN has been asked by a number of survivors to store and care for their files because they do not feel ready to read them. ISN complete timelines which enable survivors to digest the file content and begin to make sense of the chaos that is an Islington childhood care file.

Survivor responses

 ‘There needs to be an understanding and awareness of the fact that survivors may not remember a lot because their minds close down to protect them. I have a lot of blanks myself’

‘I and my brother was sent to different homes. A man did something to me and I stopped seeing my brother. He did not know about my CSA until now and he was trapped with monsters for 3 years.’

5.9: Representation during the application and assessment process

Islington Council SPS Proposal

The scheme is designed to be accessible without the need for legal representation. In the event an applicant obtains legal representation LBI will not be responsible for costs (App A:19.1)

5.10: ISN response to whether survivors would like ISN to be their advocate during the application and assessment process

97% of 81 ISN respondents said they would like ISN to advocate on their behalf during the application and assessment process

Survivor responses

 ‘I feel comfortable and trust ISN.’

‘Definitely it is the only way I would accept this scheme I only trust ISN.’

‘The whole purpose of ISN is our files, our case is the story.’

‘I trust ISN will continue to have my best interest.’

5.11: Stage D: Automatic review by an Independent Review Panel (IRP) in the event that the threshold to make a support payment has not been met at Stage 3 or that adverse issues are identified

Islington Council SPS Proposal

An Independent Review Panel comprises independent individuals who possess either legal social work or applicable charity work expertise (App A:1.18)

The IRP members will also need the appropriate knowledge and expertise to carry out their role. It is therefore proposed that the panel comprise barristers,/judges, senior or expert social workers and individuals form relevant charitable organisations with appropriate expertise (App A2:11.2)

Where the service provider is not satisfied that the threshold to make a support payment has been met or where adverse issues as defined 1.19 are identified, the application will be referred automatically to the Independent Review Panel. The applicant will be notified and will be invited to make any written representations in relation to this and/ or submit any further information or material that they may wish within 28 days for the Independent review panel to consider (App A:15.4, App A2:14-17, App 2:MAP:10)

The SPS has an automatic review process where an application is not initially successful and reasons will be given where an application is not accepted (LR:4.1)

The IRP members will consider the application, information and material and decide whether in their view the threshold criteria are satisfied. The panel may request further information or material either from the applicant or the ISP to assist in reaching their decision (AppA2:14.18—20)

The application will be reviewed by a panel three, one with legal expertise, one a social worker and one with charity work expertise. They will determine collectively whether the threshold criteria have been met….. the applicant will be notified of the threshold criteria that have not been met and/ or the adverse issues that have led to the application being declined (App A:15.1)

The Independent Review Panels decision is final 15.6.

The IRP’s decision will be final (App A2: 14.23)

IRP declines application

Notifies applicant that application declined

Notifies applicant of the threshold criteria that have not been met/ and/or the adverse circumstances that have led to the application being declined

Notifies applicant of right to pursue civil claim. Final decision (App A2:MAP:13)

5.12: ISN response to the membership and role of the Independent Review Panel (IRP)

Membership of the IRP

96% of 85 ISN respondents said that one member of the Review Panel must be from a survivor run organisation such as NAPAC and all members of the panel to be agreed with ISN. The social work role is so widely defined that it has to be agreed to be appropriate by ISN. ISN participate in interview processes for the NRAT and ISTS so why not for SPS?

Survivor responses

‘We need all knowledge on board we need real people.’

 ‘Without question!’

‘I’m learning that not a lot of professionals are trauma informed.’

‘It needs more transparency and no conflicts of interest.’

‘As ISN experience and knowledge is key.’

‘Understanding is helpful.’

‘These 2 orgs have the expertise.’

‘Would be good for everyone.’

‘Yes definitely.’

This entire section requires a major rethink. To decline an application form would have major implications for a survivor. To be been expected to submit documentation/ materials within 28 days has led to survivors saying, ‘Its not a parking ticket.’   It demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of how to manage a process that is appropriate for survivors and responsive to their complex and varied needs.

Islington Council SPS Proposal

The Independent Review Panels decision is final 15.6.

15.13: ISN response to the absence of any appeal process

‘Absolutely – further now it is not clear the grounds by which an appeal can be lodged.  The Appellant process will need to be clarified including setting out the grounds for appeal.’

The SPS seems to deny all grounds for appeal as the decision of the IRP is said to be final. It appears as if the entire process could take place without any face to face contact with the survivor and their advocate – purely on ‘impressions’ formed from an application form and some documentation to add to its ‘credibility’. 

The ISP will refer a refusal to the IRP and the survivor has no opportunity to appeal the decision which has been made in secret. Because the payment is in effect a ‘gift’ it seems the ‘gift’ can be refused without the survivor having any opportunity to meet those making the gift on behalf of the council. This feels very wrong for survivors of abuse and replicates the dynamic of child abuse which can only take place amid secrecy and silence. The only time there can be a face to face meeting for the survivor in this scheme, is if they chose to ask for support in completing the form. This we argue should be the role of ISN in order to ensure independence from the council administration and decision makers There is no provision for face to face meetings anywhere else in the assessment, review or decision-making process.

98% of 86 ISN respondents said they would like clarification of the grounds for appealing against a decision to refuse them the payment. However on closer examination of the documentation ISN could not see any statement of a right to appeal so we should, on reflection have reframed this question.

Survivor responses

‘If it’s not fair then all survivors should boycott it.’

‘I have negative experience with Islington Council.’

‘All the facts presented should be added and full disclosure be available.’

‘It’s only fair to do so.’

‘If needed.’

‘This clarification should be supplemented by the contribution of ISN.’

‘To make it clear their decision.’

‘Absolutely.’

‘How can they put survivors through more suffering.’

‘A Must.’

‘It’s only fair.’

5.14: Application to the SPS is denied if there is delay

Islington Council SPS Proposal

Delay: In the event of significant delay by the applicant in response to reasonable requests for information or material during the course of the application the applicant will be notified that a continued failure to correspond may result in the application being denied (App A:16.1).

In the event of a repeated significant delay by the applicant the support team my decline the application on this basis (App A:16.2)

5.15: ISN response to action to be taken if there is delay

ISN consider that this is a harsh, unrealistic and punitive approach and must be removed from this document. It highlights a lack of understanding of the task.

5.16: Communication during process and confidentiality of the SPS

Islington Council SPS Proposal

Any and all communication to the applicant confirming the decisions made will be limited to stating either that a support payment will be made, that the application has been referred to the IRP or that the app has been declined and in the latter 2 cases the reason why (App A:15.7, App A2:14.24)

Transfer of all data between LBI, the independent service provider and the independent review panel will be by secure encrypted means

The support team will treat all matters relating to all applications in the strictest confidence

This does not preclude any person from disclosing protected information when required by law

(App A:18)

The ISP must have rigorous data protection systems that meet the requirements of LBI. An internal  ‘lock-down’ with only specific agreed individuals having access to scheme data would be required’ AppA2:12.1)

5.17: ISN response to communication during the process and to confidentiality of the SPS in relation to survivors who currently are employed by the London Borough of Islington

61% of 38 ISN respondents said if they worked for the council confidentiality was a major concern. [Other survivors said as they did not work for the council they did not respond.]

Some respondents currently work for Islington Council, and for them concerns about confidentiality are sufficient to prevent them applying to the SPS. In 2018 at a Council Leader Question Time event, Richard Watts, Council Leader, promised ISN that there would be no recriminations for ISN survivors who were employed by LBI who came forward to ISN but this is clearly still problematic.

The network asked: ‘Has the council contacted all current staff who worked in Islington social services prior to 1995 to support them in coming forward and assisting ISN without fear?’ The Islington boss replied: ‘We don’t have a complete list of staff who worked for us prior to 1995 but we will make efforts. Former staff are encouraged to contact police – there will be absolutely no recrimination.’ (Islington Gazette 15.10.2018) ISN Press Coverage 2016-2021 – Islington Survivors Network

Survivor responses

‘This is a great worry and holds so many people back from progress.’

‘Whistleblowers need protection.’

‘None should feel exposed especially if working for the council.’

‘I have no issues with my identity being known.’

‘One a claim is submitted victims details should be auto logged under a secured device on your system enabling claim to be dealt with swiftly.’

‘Some survivors may not have told anyone about the abuse.’

‘Yes considering it is the very council that was initially supposed to protect them I believe anonymity is crucial for some people applying to the scheme.’

‘Confidentiality is a huge factor.’

‘If I was working for Islington Council then Yes.’

‘I don’t work for LBI so I can’t answer that. However from an employment law perspective – the fact than an individual works for Islington does not mean that their confidentiality on this particular scheme ( if they qualify) should not be the same as others.’

5.18: Length of the SPS

Islington Council SPS Proposal

Scheme to be open for 2 years (Q8)
It has been agreed that the scheme will be open for application for a period of 2 years initially (App A2:5.1)
LBI reserves the right to vary the duration of the scheme upon 4 weeks notice (App A:11.2)

5.19: ISN response to the length of the SPS

47% of 74 ISN respondents said that 2 years was sufficient but 53% said it was not. It is ISN’s view that the scheme length must be flexible and also any changes must be made in consultation with ISN as the implementation of the scheme progresses.  7 respondents said it must last for 5 years. ISN are concerned at the statement that the duration of the scheme can be varied on 4 weeks notice which does not take into consideration survivor’s views or that some are currently living abroad.

Survivor responses

‘If all cases can be guaranteed to be dealt with by then.’

‘If not an extension should be allowed.’

‘At least 5 years.’ 

‘3 years.’

‘Only sufficient if nationally and well advertised.’

‘It may affect people differently and take time to come forward.’

‘Needs a national marketing campaign to let survivors know about the scheme. The time should be open ended.’

‘As long as it is advertised widely.’

‘I don’t think a lot of people know about ISN.’

‘Not long enough to find all survivors.’                                          

‘Too long people need closure.’

‘As long as it takes.’

‘Clarify for me why there should be a time limit?’

‘Quicker the better.’

‘The scheme needs a time limit.’

‘Many survivors lead isolated lives and are not tuned in to the news and social media.  It will take time for awareness of this scheme to percolate.’ (Eileen Fairweather)

5.20: Provision for survivor feedback as the SPS process progresses

Survivor’s experiences as part of continuously improving the scheme administration (Q21)

It is agreed there should be a facility to review the scheme and to revise aspects, such as its scope and duration once and whilst it is operational (App A2:1.12)

5.21: ISN response to the need for survivor feedback as the SPS progresses.

ISN agree there should be a facility for survivors to feedback on the scheme. ISN as a key stakeholder must be in co-production regarding this scheme. We are now consulted in the service reviews of the NRAT and ISTS aspects of the Support Services through bi-monthly meetings with the council and a similar system of regular review must be agreed in relation to SPS.

5.22: The database

Islington Council SPS Proposal

It is proposed that a database containing information as to known perpetrators, LBI homes, specific homes where abuse is believed to have taken place, previous allegations and other information relevant to the assessment of applications, as well as prior claimants and applicants, be compiled both during the establishment and duration of the scheme (AppA2:15.1)

5.23: ISN response to the proposed database of prior claimants

66% of 64 ISN respondents said that they assumed the council system would protect former claimants. 34% were unsure. It is ISN’s view that former claimants must provide consent for their information to be made available to this scheme. With regard to the other aspects of App A2:15.1, ISN have researched widely on alleged and know perpetrators, LBI homes and evidence of alleged and known abuse/crimes committed against children.

Survivor responses

‘As long as the database is secure with different permission levels and audit trail.’

‘I would hope any information about me was secure.’

‘Once paid you should be removed from the database.’

‘ID numbers to be used not name of survivor.’

‘The database should be secure and confidential regardless.’

LBI must be able to provide an audit trail as to who received payment and when etc. The information should be confidential and only shared on a need to know basis.’

6: How the scheme might be delivered including equalities issues that need to be considered

6.1: Equalities: The council to seek agreement with DWP will ensure a payment from the SPS will not affect benefits entitlement

Islington Council SPS Proposal

LBI seeking an agreement with DWP that a payment made under this scheme does not affect a person’s eligibility for a social security benefit entitlement that depends on any form of means test

In the absence of an agreement with DWP an applicant would be obliged to notify the DWP of a payment made under the scheme (Q14, App A:10.1/3)

6.2: ISN response for the council to gain agreement from the DWP to ensure benefit entitlement is not affected by the SPS

The Child Migrant Trust payment scheme protects not only benefit entitlement and pensions but also tax is not required to be paid on the payment sum:   

If you are resident in the UK:

  • you will not have to pay income tax or capital gains tax on the payment that you receive
  • receipt of the payment will not affect your entitlement to or the amount of any UK benefits or state pension.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/payment-scheme-for-former-british-child-migrants-guidelines/payment-scheme-for-former-british-child-migrants-guidelines

60% of 77 ISN respondents said that they would be affected personally if this agreement with the DWP was not reached.

Survivor responses

‘Benefits should not be affected at all.’

‘Payment for abuse should not affect my benefit otherwise it would be pointless.’

‘Yes I would as I only have benefits to live on.’

‘Some of us cannot work and are at our 50s but still we are constantly bombarded to work.’‘Will benefits be affected once paid? What if I am able to bring a case to court and win? Will my compensation be subject to benefit scrutiny?’

6.3: Equalities: The SPS may need to prioritise survivors with long term health conditions and older survivors

Islington Council SPS Proposal

Potential applicants will be adults of working age and a significant number nearing or at retirement age. Research indicates that life expectancy is lower for children in care. It is likely that some applicants may have developed long term health conditions. The scheme may be of particular importance to older applicants who may feel they have less time to benefit from a support payment (App D:3)

6.4: ISN response about prioritising survivors with life limiting conditions and older survivors

90% of 81 ISN respondents said that they particularly supported the prioritisation of those with life limiting illness in accessing the SPS.

Survivor responses

‘Depends how payments are processed and how quickly.’

‘Time is running out.’

‘Help me my brother has MS.’

‘Should be prioritised case by case basis.’

‘All claims should be dealt with as soon as possible.’

‘Especially for life limiting illness.’

‘If life threatening.’

‘Listen to and pay account to all.’

6.5: Equalities: Promotion of the Scheme

Islington Council SPS Proposal

There must be equitable access to information about the scheme for potential applicants (App D:8)

6.6: ISN response about how best to promote the scheme to survivors

52% of 65 ISN respondents said they had ideas about how the SPS should be promoted in order to best reach survivors.  Also ISN agree with the need for equitable access to information about the scheme reflecting the content of the Resident Impact Assessment (App D). ISN do however draw attention to the experience of traveller families where children were taken into Islington’s care in the 70s and 80s. Advice must be sought as to how best to approach this community.

ISN are aware that a large number of survivors still live within the Borough of Islington. We are also in contact with a considerable number who live across the UK and abroad. There is a substantial group of Islington survivors who live in the Bournemouth area and another group in the Watford area. There are also survivors who still live in areas outside of London where the children’s homes and foster placements were situated. E.g. Hertfordshire and Essex. In Islington and the specific identified geographical areas it will be important to contact the local resources such as libraries, children and adult social services and health in order to publicise the SPS.

National and mainstream media, print media, Radio and TV should be approached as well as advertisements/ articles placed with Community Care and professional magazines. Consultation must be made with ISN survivors if the SPS is to be effective and far reaching.  Very few survivors come to ISN other than by word of mouth. This will also be the best means of contacting other survivors. ISN has contact with former staff who would be willing to assist in promoting the scheme outside London.

‘In the media, both in articles and in paid for adverts; on radio and where possible TV; on social media; within political parties, and through child protection charities; and in parliament. LBI and the key political parties there should also look into legal action to oblige key former officers, managers and councillors to give evidence, and assure them that earlier gagging clauses – such as that imposed on John Rae Price – no longer apply and they have a duty to reveal whatever they know.’ (Eileen Fairweather).

6.7: Equalities: SPS is concerned to check the, ‘criminality’ of survivor applicants but nothing is said about the criminals who were the abusers and bringing them to justice.
6.8: ISN response about the importance of an SPS policy statement about all staff, LBI and Independent, to make appropriate referrals to the police and LADO

The Independent Service Provider and the Independent Review Panel and everyone else working to deliver the SPS, may learn of crimes that are alleged or known to have been committed against children. ISN consider that there must be a publically announced strategy for referring alleged and known child abusers to the police and the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) as appropriate.

97% of 82 ISN respondents said that the SPS should have a publically announced strategy for referring alleged and known child abusers to the police.

London Child Protection Procedures 1.9 ‘Non-recent historical abuse.’

Allegations of child abuse are sometimes made by adults and children many years after the abuse has occurred. There are many reasons for an allegation not being made at the time including fear of reprisals, the degree of control exercised by the abuser, shame or fear that the allegation may not be believed. The person becoming aware that the abuser is being investigated for a similar matter or their suspicions that the abuse is continuing against other children may trigger the allegation.

Reports of non – recent allegations of abuse may be complex as the alleged victims may no longer be living in the situations where the incidents occurred or where the alleged perpetrators are also no longer linked to the setting or employment role. Such cases should be responded to in the same way as any other concerns and the Referral and Assessment Procedure should be followed. It is important to ascertain as a matter of urgency if the alleged perpetrator is still working with, or caring for, children. Children’s Social Care may not become directly involved initially if the person is known not to have current access to children or be likely to have access in the future.

Organisational responses to allegations by an adult of abuse experienced as a child must be of as high a standard as a response to current abuse because:

  • There is a significant likelihood that a person who abused a child/ren in the past will have continued and may still be doing so;
  • Criminal prosecutions can still take place despite the fact that the allegations are non – recent in nature and may have taken place many years ago.

If it comes to light that the alleged non-recent abuse is part of a wider setting of institutional or organised abuse, the case will be dealt with according to the Organised and Complex Abuse Procedure.

Survivor responses

‘Any abusers need to be identified and brought to justice regardless of age and health state.’

‘Consultation with the abused needed.’

‘Abusers and paedophiles should not be protected but ousted.’

‘They should discuss this first with the victim.’

‘Yes where agreed by ISN and survivor.’

‘Report all – you are our voice.’

‘Our knowledge of what took place in the homes is evolving. The process must assist.

‘Yes victims need support to report and allegations of abuse need to be followed up.’

‘If the victims/survivors wish to pursue an external claim.’

‘Any crimes should be reported to the police.’

‘Difficult one – sexual abusers should be automatically referred. But some physical abusers eg LBI staff were trained in restraint techniques and it was part of their everyday duties.’

‘Islington council refused to send an undoctored file to me but the file I did receive clearly states that abuse took place whilst in their care which they did nothing about. The police were informed and were going to prosecute but the perpetrator had died.’

Referral to LADO

100% of 74 ISN respondents said that the SPS must have a publically announced strategy for referring alleged and known child abusers to the Islington LADO in order to ensure the person is not continuing to work with children and placing them at risk of harm.

Survivor responses

‘Of course abuse needs to stop.’

‘Most important.’

‘Yes if they are still alive abusers need to be stopped to protect others.’

‘Remove all abusers they are not worth it and we have evidence to show it.’

I am certain that a line can only finally be drawn under this nightmare time if guilty parties are brought to justice, and the council play an active part in that. Child rapists never stop hurting children, and every abuser whom LBI, to its shame, allowed to walk free remains a danger. I appreciate that there are political complexities involved in bringing the guilty to justice, and that the Metropolitan police has, for whatever reasons, turned down requests to investigate, even when made by the council. For this reason, I hope that the council will see fit to join ISN in reporting this police inaction – e.g. in the recent case of now convicted Paul Lamb – to the police complaints body. That would be a powerful alliance, prove that a corner really has been turned by LBI, and save the vulnerable children whom these paedophiles are still targeting.’ (Eileen Fairweather)

‘It is scandalous that, 30 years since the homes were exposed, there have been so few prosecutions.  Campaigners – and, indeed, better members of the council and LBI social services – have over the years repeatedly tried to get the Islington offenders properly investigated, but hit a brick wall. The Met refused repeatedly to investigate, claiming insufficient evidence, although there is an abundance of it. Many believe that key people in Islington were and are protected.

The police even claimed to ISN that it could not trace Paul Lamb, the former police officer who abused children in LBI’s care, yet ISN found him through a quick Google search and he was sentenced a couple of weeks ago to 17 years in prison, thanks to ISN’s persistence and the hard work and integrity of police outside the Met.

LBI survivors suffer hugely from rage and pain that child rapists are still free, hurting yet more children, because of these cover ups. Many have also suffered the trauma of giving evidence to police only for absolutely nothing to happen as a result; they have relived trauma and been binned.

The depth of LBI’s contrition and commitment to a safer world for children would become clear if the council could find a way politically and legally to fight with ISN for proper police investigation at last.’ (Eileen Fairweather)

7. Summary

In this response and as key stakeholders, ISN has attempted to provide a context to the development of this proposal. Although the proposal as a whole is welcomed by the respondents, there is clearly much work to be done to deliver this scheme in line with a compassionate, humane approach to gathering the proportionate evidence sufficient to enable sensitive and safe decision-making. Informed consent of survivors to every aspect and stage of the process is essential. ISN have anticipated the development of this scheme for over 5 years and are keen to add our expertise to the SPS in the interests of the survivors we represent. We hope that this will be possible through continuing our established relationship of working in co-production with the council.

Dr Liz Davies: Co-ordinator, ISN Co-ordinators and Directors
Islington Survivors Network
Email: islingtonsn@gmail.com
Website: islingtonsurvivors.co.uk
Voicemail: 0300 302 0930
Address: PO Box 77598, London N4 9LB 

                                                                           Date: 1.6.2021

INDEX

Abuse is Abuse

Acknowledgements

  1. Introduction

1.1 Context to the Support Payment Scheme (SPS)

1.2 ISN survivors responses to the announcement of the SPS

1.3 The background

1.4 Report methodology

1.5 The limited time period for response

1.6 The council response form

1.7 ISN denied contribution to development of the SPS

2 Guiding principles for the scheme

2.1 The purpose of the SPS

2.2ISN response to the purpose of the SPS

2.3 The objectives of the SPS

2.4 ISN response to the objectives of the SPS

3 Eligibility of who would be able to apply to the scheme

3.1 Eligibility: ‘survivors placed in an LBI children’s home’

3.2 ISN response to ‘survivors placed in an LBI children’s home’

3.3 Eligibility: ‘survivors placed within the agreed time period 1966-1995’

3.4 ISN response to ‘survivors ‘placed within the agreed time period 1966-1995’

3.5 Eligibility: Children’s placements which are excluded from the SPS

3.6 ISN response about including LBI foster care placements in the SPS

3.7 ISN response about including LBI run group foster homes in the SPS

3.8 ISN response about including Islington children placed in LCC children’s homes in the SPS

3.9 ISN response about including LBI placements in Non LBI children’s homes in the SPS with reference to Hutton Poplars children’s home

3.10 ISN response about including LBI placements in boarding schools and secure units in the SPS

3.11 ISN response about including placements by LBI in bed and breakfast and other hotel accommodation in the SPS

3.12 ISN response about including in the SPS all places where LBI placed children in their care and where abuse took place

3.13 Eligibility:  ‘Abuse by other residents in the children’s home would not be eligible to apply for this scheme’ and qualifying abuse must be ‘other than ‘peer on peer’ abuse’

3.14 ISN response to the exclusion from the SPS of ‘peer on peer’ abuse

3.15 Eligibility: Evidence of ‘Adverse Issues’ as a reason to deny access to the SPS

3.16 ISN response to the exclusion of survivors with ‘Adverse Issues’ from the SPS

3.17 Eligibility: The scheme is for living survivors not for the families of those deceased

3.18 ISN response to the exclusion of the families and/or estates of deceased survivors from the SPS

3.19 Eligibility: Offsetting any payment from prior compensation claims against payment from the SPS

3.20 ISN response to the offsetting of payments made in prior compensation claims

3.21 Eligibility: The SPS payment to be taken into account for subsequent civil compensation claims against LBI for abuse suffered in care

3.22 ISN response to the requirement to take into account the SPS payment for subsequent civil compensation payments against LBI for abuse suffered in care

4 The evidence required for payments

4.1 ISN response with regard to the definitions of child abuse

4.2 Evidence: There must be credible information and material satisfying the threshold criteria

4.3 ISN response regarding the payment threshold

4.4 Evidence: The survivor’s own account will be the key material for the SPS

4.5 ISN response to the survivor’s account being the key material for the SPS

4.6 Evidence: The SPS includes abuse committed by or aided, abetted counselled or deliberately procured by a person who was at the time employed by LBI or was providing child care services to children on behalf of LBI on a voluntary basis

4.7 ISN response about including in the SPS abuse by visitors to the children’s home

4.8 Evidence: The SPS includes abuse which took place by staff in an LBI home

4.9 ISN response about including in the SPS children abused outside the parameters of the children’s home

4.10 Evidence: Neglect as one of the 4 main categories of child abuse is not mentioned in the SPS Proposal

4.11 ISN response to the omission of neglect and need for inclusion

4.12 Evidence: The definition of emotional abuse in the SPS does not specify racist abuse

4.13 ISN response to the need for inclusion of racism within the definition of emotional abuse for the purposes of the SPS

4.14 Evidence: The separation of siblings is a form of emotional abuse when it is not based on an evidenced  risk assessment

4.15 ISN response regarding the separation of siblings

4.16 Evidence: Physical abuse as defined in the SPS does not explicitly include PinDown as a brutal form of  restraint

4.17 ISN response about the need for the SPS to specifically include PinDown within the category of Physical Abuse

5 Arrangements for making an application and scheme length

5.1 Stage A: Completion and submission of an application form by the survivor, with support

5.2 ISN response to the process of making the application

5.3 Stage B: Confirmation checks to corroborate the identity of the survivor and to check for forgery and any adverse issues

5.4 ISN response to the process of making confirmatory checks

5.5 Stage C: Assessment of the application

5.6 The Independent Service Provider should have appropriate expertise

5.7 ISN response to whether the Independent Service Provider should have appropriate expertise

5.8 ISN response to the role of the Independent Service Provider in assessment of eligibility

5.9 Representation during the application and assessment process

5.10 ISN response to whether survivors would like ISN to be their advocate during the application and assessment process

5.11 Stage D: Automatic review by an Independent Review Panel (IRP) in the event that the threshold to make a support payment has not been met at Stage 3 or that adverse issues are identified

5.12 ISN response to the membership and role of the Independent Review Panel (IRP)

5.13 ISN response to the absence of any appeal process

5.14 Application to the SPS is denied if there is delay

5.15 ISN response to action to be taken if there is delay

5.16 Communication during process and confidentiality of the SPS

5.17 ISN response to communication during the process and to confidentiality of the SPS in relation to survivors who currently are employed by the London Borough of Islington

5.18 Length of the SPS

5.19 ISN response to the length of the SPS

5.20 Provision for survivor feedback as the SPS process progresses

5.21 ISN response to the need for survivor feedback as the SPS progresses

5.22 The database

5.23 ISN response to the proposed database of prior claimants

6 How the scheme might be delivered including equalities issues that need to be considered

6.1 Equalities: The council to seek agreement with DWP will ensure a payment from the SPS will not affect benefits entitlement

6.2 ISN response for the council to gain agreement from the DWP to ensure benefit entitlement is not affected by the SPS

6.3 Equalities: The SPS may need to prioritise survivors with long term health conditions and older survivors

6.4 ISN response about prioritising survivors with life limiting conditions and older survivors

6.5 Equalities: Promotion of the Scheme

6.6 ISN response about how best to promote the scheme to survivors

6.7 Equalities: SPS makes statements about the, ‘criminality of survivor applicants but nothing is said about the criminals who were the abusers and bringing them to justice.

6.8 ISN response about the importance of an SPS policy statement about all staff, LBI and Independent, to make appropriate referrals to the police and LADO

7 Summary

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