The first report published by IICSA in March 2018 related to child migration and it included a recommendation that HM Government establish a redress scheme for surviving former child migrants providing an equal award to every applicant on the basis they were all exposed to the risk of sexual abuse. This concept of being at risk of abuse even if abuse did not occur echoes the harm’s way payments included in the Lambeth Council Scheme and proposed in the Northern Ireland Redress Scheme.
IICSA recommended that any payments should not be reduced by any prior awards of compensation. The payments were to be made by HM Government to reflect its part in the story of and responsibility for child migration. Payments should start to be made within 12 months.
IICSA did not specify a recommended sum for redress. The Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry recommended £20,000 per migrant.
In December 2018, the UK Government confirmed that it would establish a scheme of redress and on 1 February 2019 it confirmed that every child migrant alive as at 1 March 2018 (or beneficiary of a child migrant who was alive as at 1 March 2018) will be entitled to an ex-gratia payment of £20,000. A claimant must have been sent by a church, state, voluntary or other organisation to one of the receiving countries (Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Zimbabwe/former Rhodesia) and not have been accompanied by an adult family member or sent to live with their birth family.
The scheme will be administered by the Child Migrant Trust. Applications can be made from 1 March 2019 and can be made for a period of two years thereafter.
Authored by partner, Paula Jefferson