Northern Ireland Executive appoints permanent Commissioner for Victims of Institutional Childhood Abuse

In addition to establishing the HIA Redress Board, the Historical Institutional Abuse (Northern Ireland) Act 2019 (the 2019 Act) also somewhat uniquely provided for the establishment of a permanent Commissioner for Survivors of Institutional Childhood Abuse.

Section 22 of the 2019 Act states that the principal aim of the Commissioner “…is to promote the interests of any person who suffered abuse while a child and while resident in an institution at some time between 1922 and 1995.”

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Scottish parliamentary committee hears evidence on Scottish in care redress bill

On 30 September and 7 October 2020, the Education and Skills Committee at the Scottish Parliament heard evidence on a wide range of aspects of the Redress for Survivors (Historical Child Abuse in Care) (Scotland) Bill. This blog focuses on certain evidence heard on one of the most contentious aspects, the requirement that a survivor must waive, to a defined extent, his or her right to seek civil compensation in court in exchange for a redress payment.

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Church of England approves pilot redress scheme

At a meeting of the Church of England’s  Archbishops’ Council on 23 September, the Council voted unanimously for safeguarding proposals to implement an interim pilot redress scheme for survivors of abuse, and also to strengthen independence in the Church’s safeguarding work.

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German Catholic bishops set up countrywide ‘redress scheme’

On Thursday 24 September, the Conference of German Catholic Bishops disclosed plans to pay survivors of sexual and physical abuse by Catholic priests in Germany, compensation of up to €50,000 (£45,350). Rather than refer to the payments as compensation, the German Catholic Church insists on referring to them as “payments in recognition of [the survivors’] suffering.”

The president of the Conference, Bishop Georg Bätzing said that the figure was arrived at after reviewing relevant court awards in German abuse claims and was at “the higher end” of comparable damages that have been made via the normal court claims process. 

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“Creagh Lane men” continue campaign to be included in Irish Redress Scheme for survivors of abuse in national schools

Earlier this month a well know group, the “Creagh Lane men” who were sexually abused as children in Creagh Lane National School in Limerick again protested outside the Department of Education and also at Leinster House.

The men were abused by their teacher in the 1960s at Creagh Lane National School in Limerick.

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IICSA research report into child sexual abuse in ethnic minority communities

In June 2020, IICSA published a research report into child sexual abuse in ethnic minority communities. The research aimed to draw out how ethnicity, community and culture shapes people’s experiences of child sexual abuse. To do this, the research engaged with a range of ethnic minorities particularly from Caribbean, African and South Asian ethnicities, including victims and survivors of child sexual abuse. This article will explore the research findings, which will be used to enhance the Inquiry’s knowledge of child sexual abuse in ethnic minority communities.

The first key research finding is that cultural stereotypes and racism can lead to failures on the part of institutions and professionals to identify and respond appropriately to child sexual abuse. Furthermore, it could also make it more difficult for individuals in ethnic minority communities to disclose and speak up about child sexual abuse. Cultural stereotypes and racism were highlighted by the research as two key themes throughout discussions with participants, with two broad operational mechanisms:

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Health Minister announces Adult Safeguarding Bill for Northern Ireland

On the 10 of September, the Northern Ireland Health Minister Robin Swann confirmed his intention to bring forward a new Adult Safeguarding Bill for Northern Ireland, to help protect care home residents and other vulnerable members of society.

This commitment is in response to the first report from an independent review commissioned to examine the health and social care system’s response to care failings at Dunmurry Manor Care Home which had previously been identified.

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Harvey Weinstein victims awarded nearly $19 million in compensation

Settlement has been reached in two class action lawsuits against Harvey Weinstein and Harvey Weinstein and The Weinstein Company.

Weinstein is currently serving 23 years in prison in New York after being convicted of sexual assault and rape in the third degree.

The settlement is subject to approval by the district court as well as the bankruptcy court that is presiding over The Weinstein Company’s bankruptcy case.

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IICSA most recent research report: Support services for victims and survivors of child sexual abuse

In August 2020, IICSA published its most recent research report into support services for victims and survivors of child sexual abuse.

This research report had been commissioned by IICSA in order to gain some insight and clarity into the experience of victims and survivors of child abuse when they try to and/or access support services.

The research and the associated report is the work of the independent research consultants Broome|Gekoski who worked in conjunction with the University of Hertfordshire.

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Righting wrongs and entrenching rights: ongoing activity in Scotland

Followers of this blog will be aware that the Scottish Parliament’s Education and Skills Committee has issued a call for views on the Redress for Survivors (Historical Child Abuse in Care) (Scotland) Bill. This legislation seeks to right certain wrongs of the past by means of financial redress for survivors of childhood (under 18) abuse in relevant in-care settings. The call for views closes on 2 October 2020.

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