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
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, ... view the full minutes text for item 834