Support Payment Scheme Progress & Media

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

( ISN opinions on the Support Payment scheme proposal)

10th March: Islington Council announced a proposal for a Non-Recent Child Abuse Support Payment Scheme

The Scheme is for survivors who ‘suffered emotional. physical and sexual abuse whist resident in the council’s children’s homes from 1966-1995. The proposal will enable 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 the lengthy civil compensation claims process’

Islington Council have provided 5 documents relating to this proposed scheme:

Please also refer to:

[The council has not used these definitions in their proposal but ISN will always refer to these statutory definitions of child abuse which are recognised by all involved in the investigation of child abuse (current and non-recent) and which include neglect as a category of abuse.]

Islington Survivors Network received these documents on 10th March, held an initial meeting with council officers and consulted ISN Directors and our legal team at Leigh Day solicitors. The proposed scheme was presented at the Council Executive meeting on 18th March and is now open to consultation over the next 6 weeks. ISN will of course respond in detail to the proposals. This is the first scheme of its kind and is different from the redress scheme which ISN proposed over 3 years ago based on the Lambeth scheme. Since that time ISN has continually campaigned on this issue on behalf of over 200 survivors.

We broadly welcome this new proposal which suggests payments of £8000 as a flat rate payment to survivors of abuse in Islington children’s homes. The proposal gives important recognition to survivors harmed in Islington’s care and restates the council leader’s apology in 2017, when he also admitted the council’s culpability.

In applying for payment, the survivor’s own account will be the key material used to establish that abuse took place – as well as having been a resident in an Islington children’s home. ISN know of 42 children’s homes and now await the publication of the council’s own list.

ISN have a number of key points to make as part of our submission to the consultation. In particular we will argue strongly for the inclusion of neglect as a category of abuse and the inclusion of survivors abused in Islington foster placements. We will also seek to clarify the suggested process of application for the scheme to ensure easy accessibility and sensitivity to all ISN survivors.

When the scheme is finalised, ISN will provide advocacy, at every stage of the process, for survivors wishing to apply for payment.

In 2017 the Islington Council Leader said:

‘This was the darkest chapter in the council’s history.’

‘There was systematic failure all the way through the council through all those years.’

We are desperately sorry – children were subjected to terrible physical and mental abuse.’

Consultation

ISN posted to all survivors a consultation form with a stamped addressed envelope and received over 100 of these as well as email contributions. ISN now have a PO Box address because of not being able to access our office during lockdown. We have also sought the views of former staff who have supported ISN. Since the scheme was announced many more survivors have come forward.

ISN’s detailed 53 page response which includes the views of survivors and some former staff is on this website DOWNLOAD here . The report details how many survivors responded to each topic.

Dr Sarah Nelson OBE wrote a report for the Consultation in support of ISN DOWNLOAD here

Press Coverage about the Support Payment Scheme

‘Proposed £8,000 payout for Islington care home survivors’ Islington Gazette, 12th March 2021

‘Children’s home scandal: care abuse victims to get payout’ Islington Tribune, 12th March 2021

‘Survivors of abuse in Islington children’s homes to receive support payments’ Islington Gazette, 22nd March 2021

‘Islington Council consults on £8,000 child abuse payment scheme’ Islington Gazette, 6th April 2021

‘Consultation over £8k payouts to survivors of care home abuse’ Islington Tribune, 9th April 2021

‘Millions for victims of children’s home abuse’ Mail on Sunday, 25th April 2021

Council Executive Meeting October 14th 2021

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

The webcast of the meeting is available for a year.

Agenda item

Non Recent Child Abuse Support Payment Scheme

Decision:

AGREED RECOMMENDATIONS

Reasons for decision –  to provide financial support for eligible survivors / victims of non-recent abuse.

suffered when in the council’s children’s homes.

Other options considered – as detailed in the report, the scheme was subject to consultation

Conflicts of interest / dispensations granted – none

Minutes:

The Leader introduced the item by making the following statement:

Tonight’s meeting includes a report about Non-Recent Child Abuse in Islington’s children’s homes. Abuse of children in Islington’s children’s homes was the worst chapter in the council’s history. Children, placed in our care, were subjected to terrible abuse which has had a deeply traumatic effect on their lives.

As Leader of Islington Council, I again want to say we are deeply sorry for the council’s past failure to protect vulnerable children in our care. I offer this heartfelt apology to everyone who suffered abuse, and who continues to suffer because of it. We know that nothing can make amends for the trauma caused, but it is our responsibility as a council to try to address past failings, and to offer support.  

Tonight’s report recommends that the Executive approves a Support Payment Scheme for people who suffered abuse in the council’s children’s homes from 1966-1995. The scheme will enable abuse survivors to receive a financial support payment of £10,000, without having to bring a civil compensation claim, and more quickly than having to go through the trauma of the lengthy civil compensation process.

Payments will be made through a process that is as straightforward and quick to access as possible, and that minimises the need to re-live past trauma, or the risk of further trauma or harm. Survivors or care-experienced people who suffered abuse, whether they make an application or receive a payment under the scheme or not, will of course still be able to bring a civil compensation claim.

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

I’d like to thank all the survivors and care-experienced adults affected by abuse and the organisations supporting them who made very valuable contributions to our consultation on the proposed scheme earlier this year. Thanks to their responses, we have made a significant number of changes to the proposed scheme, including increasing the payment from £8,000 to £10,000, and expanding the categories of abuse.

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

The Leader advised that written questions had been received in relation to this item and responded as follows:

I have received a questions relating to how the support payment scheme will work in practice. In the report, we have outlined that there will be a range of support for those applying for payments under this scheme including an independent advocacy service. There will be further details about how the scheme works in practice in due course.

I have also received a question relating to civil compensation and criminal investigations. The Council is committed to supporting victims and survivors, provides a number of support services and will assist any police investigations or prosecutions in any appropriate way that it can. It is not, however, in a position to offer any form of scheme or process beyond the support payment scheme that it is currently working to set up. The Council does not have insurance ‘money’ as such, but rather insurance cover that may respond to civil compensation claims arising out of non-recent abuse. Whilst the Council will continue to support victims or survivors who bring such claims in any way that it can, and in this sense work with them, it will be the party against which such claims are brought and cannot, therefore, work jointly with them within the actual claim process.

I have received a number of questions not related to the support payment scheme but about support for survivors. We will continue to meet with Islington survivors and care-experienced adults so that the support that has been, or may need to be, in place for them including our general services across the council are trauma-informed. Their voices and lived experiences will be central to shaping support that empowers them to live their lives. 

We have also received questions in relation to people who will be outside of the scope of the proposed scheme. The dates are based on the management of those care homes, but we can look at this further and if anyone wants to contact me on this matter they should feel free to do so.

We have also been asked questions about how the payment scheme will be publicised and how it will have the furthest reach possible. We want to publicise this as widely as possible and we will work with relevant groups to ensure that happens. We will also set aside an appropriate budget to ensure that the scheme is publicised as widely as possible.

A council officer read out a statement submitted on behalf of the Islington Survivors Network. The full statement is appended to the end of this document.

RESOLVED:

a)   That the consultation undertaken on the proposed Support Payment Scheme (SPS) and the responses received from consultees (Appendix A of the report) be noted;

b)   That the final SPS (Appendix C1 of the report) and final Scheme Terms and Conditions (Appendix C2 of the report) be approved;

c)    That the arrangements for implementation of the SPS (paragraph 4.1 of the report) and the proposals for the appointment of the Independent Service Provider and members of the Independent Review Panel (paragraphs 4.2 and 4.3 of the report) be noted;

d)   That the Corporate Director of Resources, following consultation with the Leader of the Council, be authorised to make any further changes to the SPS and Scheme Terms and Conditions considered necessary as a result of the responses from the council’s insurers.

e)   That the Chief Executive and Corporate Director of Resources be authorised to take all necessary action to implement the approved SPS; and

f)     It be noted that update reports on the operation of the SPS will be submitted to future meetings of the Executive.

Reasons for decision –  to provide financial support for eligible survivors / victims of non-recent abuse.

suffered when in the council’s children’s homes.

Other options considered – as detailed in the report, the scheme was subject to consultation

Conflicts of interest / dispensations granted – none

Supporting documents:

ISN Statement to Islington Council Executive Meeting: October 14th 2021

ISLINGTON SURVIVORS NETWORK

Survivors of child abuse in Islington children’s homes and foster placements campaigning for justice

Statement to Islington Council Executive Meeting: October 14th 2021

Islington Survivors Network welcome this opportunity to respond tonight to the proposed Support Payment Scheme for Survivors of Non-recent Child Abuse.

Firstly, we thank all the survivors in our network for waiting so long since hopes were raised for a financial scheme back in 2017. We know how difficult that long wait has been.  Secondly, we thank over 100 survivors who provided evidence so that ISN could produce a comprehensive response to the council consultation which has contributed so much to the scheme being presented by the council tonight. We acknowledge that the Council has made some important changes to their first proposal although not all our responses were agreed.

It has been a long journey for us since the Executive meeting in September 2017 when many survivors spoke one by one of their very personal experiences of abuse when they were children in Islington’s care system. In response we received an apology & admission of council culpability from Richard Watts (then council leader) when he acknowledged “it was the darkest chapter in Islington council’s history” and gave a “full commitment to addressing past failings”. Sadly, since this time 8 Islington survivors have died without justice.

Since 2014, ISN have established and co-produced with the council the Islington Non-recent Abuse Team Support Service and the Trauma Service which are highly valued by many of us. ISN are committed to campaigning for the interests of all survivors including those who are excluded from this Scheme such as those who were in Islington Council foster placements. We also reassure survivors that we will advocate for them, when they apply for the payment, drawing on our extensive research, knowledge and expertise. Importantly, alongside the council, we will campaign for the DWP to decide that receipt of the payment will not affect entitlement to or the amount of any UK benefits. It would be devastating for many ISN survivors if the DWP refused to make this dispensation.

ISN broadly welcome this Support Payment Scheme and look forward to contributing to the planning for implemention  during the following months.  However, there is still much work to be done to make sure that eligible survivors receive this payment as intended by the council objectives of being straightforward, quick to access & avoiding risk of further trauma.

Islington Council Statement about Support Payment Scheme

15th October 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leigh Day respond to Islington Council’s announcement of its Support Payment Scheme

4th November 2021

Lawyers representing Islington Survivors Network (ISN) have given a cautious welcome to Islington Borough Council’s announcement of its Support Payment Scheme (SPS) for survivors of abuse in children’s homes.

The abuse team at law firm Leigh Day also represents a number of people who were abused as children whilst in the care of Islington Council. The SPS was announced in mid-October following a six-month consultation in which ISN was fully involved.

The Leigh Day team is pleased to see that some of ISN’s key proposals have been included following ISN’s input.

It welcomes the increase of the pay award from the £8,000 suggested by Islington Council to the £10,000 proposed by ISN during the consultation.

It is also pleased to see that, in response to ISN’s proposal, the SPS will make payments for cases of peer-on-peer abuse and neglect.

However, the Leigh Day team understands that a number of families will be affected by the fact that there will be no payment made for survivors of abuse who have died in the years since 2017 when the SPS was first proposed.

And it shares ISN’s disappointment that the scheme will still exclude many who were subjected to abuse under Islington’s care, for example, children in foster care and those whose experience occurred outside of the date ranges specified by the council.

ISN was established in 2014 and Alison Millar and Andrew Lord of Leigh Day have represented them since 2017. Campaigning by ISN and their members meant that Islington Council previously admitted culpability for the abuse perpetrated against children in its care by children’s home workers and foster carers, and the SPS was later mooted in 2018.

ISN was therefore disappointed that its significant role in the consultation, in which it submitted the views of 84 survivors of abuse in Islington children’s homes and foster care, was not directly acknowledged by Islington Council. Alison’s team shares ISN’s view that Islington Council should have been proud to pay tribute to its specific input instead of referring to just 43 consultation responses.

Alison Millar, head of the abuse team at law firm Leigh Day said:

“We are pleased that Islington Council is introducing a scheme to provide financial acknowledgment to some survivors of the Islington children’s homes scandal; this complements the existing support and trauma services for survivors funded by the Council.

“This will not prevent survivors who may have civil claims for compensation asserting their rights.

“It is disappointing that the significant number of children who suffered abuse in Islington foster placements in particular are excluded from this Scheme. We also wait to hear from the Council the mechanics of and timescales for implementation of the Scheme and how it will be made accessible to survivors in a way that meets the stated aim of avoiding retraumatisation.”

Leigh Day website

MEDIA RESPONSES TO SPS SCHEME Nov 2021

‘Relief as survivors are told payment scheme won’t affect their benefits’

Islington Tribune, 5th November 2021

Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz: ‘In effect, this safeguards the Support Payment Scheme settlements, so they will not affect entitlement to means-tested benefits for those who apply’

THE government has this week written to the council after months of deliberation, saying benefits claimants will not lose out if they are among the survivors who receive an abuse support scheme payment.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has now decided that payments made from the council scheme will be disregarded in their benefits calculations after survivors feared they would have their money cut.

Secretary of State Thérèse Coffey wrote to Islington Council this week to inform them of the decision after the Tribune contacted the government office about the ongoing issue.

It follows council leader Kaya Comer-Schwartz writing to the government in July urging them to come to a decision on this matter.

Donna, who did not want her surname published as she is a survivor of abuse, said: “After the meeting [in October at the Town Hall] I felt quite positive that it was going to be a better outcome for more people.”

She said she will apply for the scheme even though she is not sure if her claim will be successful as she comes under the category of “neglect”.

Donna added: “I will support anybody who needs support, regardless of whether I am successful in my scheme.”

A DWP spokesperson said: “We have already made the decision that payments from the Islington scheme will be disregarded in full, and will not affect those receiving Universal Credit or other means-tested benefits because of these payments.”

Cllr Comer-Schwartz said: “I’m pleased that the Secretary of State has finally made the right decision, months after I wrote to the Minister for Welfare Delivery asking him to resolve this pressing issue which we have pursued for two years.

“We have had extensive correspondence and a face-to-face meeting with the Department for Work and Pensions in a bid to push them to make this critically important decision. In effect, this safeguards the Support Payment Scheme settlements, so they will not affect entitlement to means-tested benefits for those who apply.

“This uncertainty must have weighed heavily on the minds of many survivors and care-experienced adults, and I’m pleased that our close working relationship with local survivors’ groups means we could finally cut through the government’s red tape so the Support Payment Scheme can work as intended.

“Our lobbying, with Lambeth Council, means this decision will be enshrined in law in line with other similar schemes, removing a critical worry for some of society’s most vulnerable people.”

‘Abuse is abuse… money should go to the bereaved’

A WOMAN who grew up in an abusive foster care home with her sister says their childhood contributed to her sibling’s death.

The council support payment scheme was announced in October following a six-month consultation but does not include the families of survivors who died after 2017 and also excludes those who endured abuse in foster care.

Lisa, who did not want to give her surname, said: “I have never been open about my past ever, ever. This is the first time I have ever spoken about it. I am doing it on behalf of my blessed sister.

“She passed away last year but had been severely abused. She ended up with very serious mental health issues and ended up being found on the floor dead last year. Everything about her life, her past, is what contributed to her death.

“She now has a child – I have a nephew who is in care – he might now go through what she went through. Hopefully not but he is going to grow up without a mum or a family. Why shouldn’t her money go to him.”

Lisa’s sister died age 49. It would have been her birthday next week. They went into foster care in 1972. Lisa’s sister came out of foster care in 1982.

Lisa said: “I just don’t get it – abuse is abuse, it doesn’t matter who by, or if it was foster care, like we were, where we were abused over many years. She died because of a result of her childhood in care. Whether in foster care or residential care, the abuse was rife. My sister refused to speak with me for the best part of seven or eight years because of her own grief. I don’t think she felt worthy of having anyone around her.

“I grew up with my sister. She was not like that, life made her like that.

“We lived like slaved black kids in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, with what I would describe now as a very abusive family.

“I got chucked out at 16 with no family and had to find my own way in life.

“I didn’t know about Islington Survivors Network until my sister died. It is something us survivors keep close to our chest.

“I heard my sister was found on the floor dead with the papers scattered all over her. She could have been anyone she wanted to be.

“She was the most gorgeous and beautiful person but she was so troubled with her past that she couldn’t move forward ever. Everything about her was stunning. To watch her demise into this person you don’t recognise is worse than anything. That kind of abuse that troubles a human being until you don’t want to be here. You can’t put a date on it. It is insulting.”

She added: “Just because we [survivors of abuse] are up and can talk and can dress, doesn’t mean we are surviving, it means we are following the path of life. You can die slowly and that’s what my sister did.”


Care homes abuse scandal: ‘Was my son’s life worthless?’

Islington Tribune, 5th November 2021

A MOTHER whose son was abused during the Islington care homes scandal and died last year says the fact his case was excluded from the council’s support payouts for survivors makes lives seem “worthless”.

The Town Hall launched the scheme after apologising for the widescale abuse by staff from 1966 to 1995 – described as the “worst chapter” in the borough’s history. Cash sums are being paid to survivors but no money has been set aside for the families of victims who have died since the discovery of the abuse.

The law firm Leigh Day is representing a number of people who were abused as children while in the care of Islington Council and said it welcomes an increase of the pay award from the £8,000 to the £10,000.

This had been suggested by the Islington Survivors Network during the consultation. The council also agreed payments for cases of peer-on-peer abuse and neglect.

But no money will go to families of abuse survivors who have died in the years since 2017 when the scheme was first proposed.

And it will also exclude many who were subjected to abuse under other sections of ­Islington’s care, such as children in foster care and those whose experience occurred outside of the date ranges specified by the council.

Jacquie Tyrrell-Holt, mother of abuse survivor Tony who died last year, said: “It is the injustice of not having a voice because obviously they are not around. The small numbers involved, they are not getting any justice. They are left to feel their lives are worthless.”

There are believed to be eight families who have had survivors of abuse die since 2017.

Ms Tyrrell-Holt said: “It is dreadful and they shouldn’t be excluded. My son, his life was ruined. He had one child who is now 36 and ­Terry’s life was ruined, too, because Tony wasn’t around to bring him up.

“He took to drugs, he took to alcohol. He lived a homeless existence for a while and couldn’t make a marriage work.

“It was nothing to do with family life because all my other children are settled.”

Ms Tyrrell-Holt said Tony went into care in 1973 when he was ­seven years old as a ­temporary measure after two of her children died.

She said: “I had a breakdown and needed a bit of help. It was supposed to be a couple of weeks and I was told by the management there he was a disturbed child, he tried to set fire to a ­dormitory and had to stay there. He stayed there for a year

“The thing about it was Tony – although he wasn’t an angel, he was a disrupted child, these days might be diagnosed with ADHD – he never ever lied and he swore to me that he never tried to set fire to anything.

“It was just something I was told and now I wonder – hindsight is a great thing – I wonder if they said it to keep him there because they saw the potential.

“We only spoke about it once because Tony was ashamed because he thought it was his fault.

“The reason I contacted the survivors’ network was I told Tony to do it initially but he couldn’t face it, but unfortunately he died in the meantime.

“I feel his son who had just started to build a relationship with him, he should be the person to benefit if there is any benefit of it, because he missed out on so much growing up.”

Tony had started to build a relationship with his son in the past six years but Tony died on March 14 last year at the age of 53. It would have been his birthday today (Friday). A funeral was held during the lockdown with just 10 family ­members present.

Ms Tyrrell-Holt said: “I went to register his death at Wood Green and I did it through a closed door – they were feeding it through a crack through a door.”

Tony lived in Finsbury Park for the past 10 years and enjoyed going on walks in the park with Terry and visiting his grandchildren.

Ms Tyrrell-Holt said: “It is not hundreds and hundreds. They are talking about eight families who could be left without feeling their child’s life is not totally worthless.”

Alison Millar and Andrew Lord of Leigh Day have represented the Islington Survivors ­Network since 2017.

Ms Millar, head of the abuse team at Leigh Day, said:“This will not ­prevent survivors who may have civil claims for compensation asserting their rights.

“It is disappointing that the significant number of children who suffered abuse in Islington foster placements in particular are excluded from this scheme.

“We also want to hear from the council the mechanics of and timescales for implementation of the scheme and how it will be made accessible to survivors in a way that meets the stated aim of avoiding re-traumatisation.”

She added: “We are pleased that Islington Council is introducing a scheme to provide financial acknowledgment to some survivors of the Islington children’s homes scandal; this complements the existing support and trauma ­services for survivors funded by the council.”

Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz, leader of Islington Council, said: “The length of time it has taken to create this very complex scheme is already too much, and we did not want to delay it further.

“I personally have found the delays very frustrating, so I cannot imagine what it is like for people who suffered abuse and have been waiting for the scheme to be created. We wanted to offer a support payment to children’s home survivors as soon as we could.”


‘£10,000 payments for the survivors of abuse scandal’

Islington Tribune, 15th October 2021

SURVIVORS of child abuse in Islington’s care homes will be paid sums of £10,000 as a “support payment”.

Cabinet councillors last night (Thursday) agreed to put aside £16million for the scheme with claimants expected from a period of 30 years.

The payments are aimed to help those affected by the scandal – described as the “worst chapter” in Islington’s history – and will be given to people who were abused by paid staff and volunteers in care homes between 1966 and 1995. Victims suffered sexual, physical and emotional abuse.

The Tribune reported in July how the Islington Survivors Network (ISN), had concerns the council were not listening to their views on the consultation process for the scheme.

But council said it had taken feedback from survivors before forming the proposals.

Thirty-two survivors responded to the consultation, some of whom had been abused by employees and visitors to the care homes at which they lived in as children.

The payment had previously been lined up to be less, with £8,000 the figure in an initial suggestion.

It is expected thousands of survivors could come forward.

Dr Liz Davies from the ISN said: “They’ve [the council] listened a lot to what we have said in our response and they made quite a lot of changes.

“They are thankfully going to engage with us. The Islington Survivors Network is pleased the council will be working with us in terms of the process. It is nice to acknowledge the good things and move forward.”

The scheme is likely to launch next spring and will be run independently of the council.

Dr Davies said some of the group’s concerns had not been resolved, however, including a decision to exclude children who grew up in foster parent homes..

Dr Davies also said since 2017, eight survivors of the abuse have now died.

The ISN asked the council if their families could qualify for compensation, but Islington declined to extend its payment programme.

Islington Council leader Councillor Kaya Comer-Schwartz said: “Abuse of children in Islington’s care homes was the worst chapter in the council’s history, and we are deeply sorry for the council’s past failure to protect vulnerable children.”

She added: “We have now consulted on the proposed Support Payment Scheme, which would enable abuse survivors to receive a financial support payment without having to bring a civil compensation claim.

“The council is extremely grateful to everyone who has taken part in the consultation, especially abuse survivors, Islington Survivors Network, and other support organisations and advocates.”


PROGRESS November/ December 2021

ISN have met several times with the council officers responsible for implementation of the Support Payment Scheme, since it was approved by the council on October 14th, to inform the council plan for implementation. It is anticipated that the Scheme will begin in Spring (April).

ISN is assisting many survivors to get their files in readiness for the Scheme. If the council cannot find a survivor’s file then ISN will assist them in evidencing the basis of their claim. ISN will act as advocates for ISN survivors who would like assistance at any stage of the claim. For example, ISN evidence might be through providing witness statements, documentation and even photographs.

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