The Shirley Oaks Survivors Association (SOSA) has today published its report regarding abuse of children in care at Shirley Oaks. Lambeth Council has indicated that it will make a payment to all residents irrespective of whether or not they were abused, with greater sums for those who did suffer sexual abuse.
Payment of a sum to all who were in care because they were deemed to have been put at risk is unusual and clearly could have a significant financial impact. It is however a similar approach to that identified by the Ulster University Report “What Survivors Want from Redress” which was published in March 2016 as part of the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry in Northern Ireland. The conclusions reached in that report were that there should be payment to anyone who had been in care. This is described as a basic level payment which does not require an individual assessment process to determine the impact of the care experience and any abuse. Thereafter the recommendation is for the possibility of individual assessments for further sums linked to specific abuse.
The report also considered the level of payment although made no firm recommendations regarding the same. The figure of £10,000 was proposed for the first or portion of first year in care followed by an additional £3,000 for each further year or part of a year. Lambeth have given no indication of the level of payments which they will offer to the Shirley Oaks Survivors but has noted that it expects to pay tens of millions of pounds once the details of the scheme have been finalised.
Although SOSA has withdrawn as a core participant in the IICSA the establishment of such a comprehensive redress scheme will no doubt be of interest to the work of the IICSA in this area, and be keenly watched by other organisations with history of abusive behaviour by those connected to it.
Written by Paula Jefferson, partner