Redress in Scotland and a call for inquiry into childhood abuse at Scottish state schools


On 25 April 2019, an advance payment scheme opened for certain survivors of childhood abuse in Scotland. A link to this Scottish Government scheme is here. From 10am on 29 April 2019, a free telephone support line will be open for applicants on 0808 169 9740.

Key points of the scheme are that:

  • It is open to those who have a terminal illness or are aged 70 or over.
  • Applicants do not need to prove abuse.
  • Applicants need to prove, by documentary evidence, that they were “in care” in Scotland before December 2004.
  • Details of what comprises ‘in care’ are on the Scottish Government link.
  • Payments are on a flat rate of £10,000.
  • The payments are ex gratia, discretionary and are being met “in whole by the Scottish Government.” However, the Scottish Government has publicly expressed an intention to subsequently seek payments from ‘in care’ institutions, albeit as yet there are no details upon how this will be achieved.
  • There are no reliable estimates of how many survivors may be eligible for Advance Payments. Scottish Government has set aside £10m for the scheme this year.
  • The Scottish Government’s present intention is to keep the scheme open until a statutory redress scheme is established.

On a wider statutory redress scheme, the Scottish Government “remains committed to introducing a Bill which can pass its final stages before the end of March 2021.” A full pre-legislative consultation will be launched later in 2019. Scottish Government has emphasised that “no decisions have yet been taken” in relation to the proposed statutory scheme.

Call for inquiry into childhood abuse at Scottish state schools

The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (SCAI) started work in October 2015. To the end of March 2019 it has cost £21,523,366. It is not specifically looking at state-run mainstream schools. On 25 April 2019 a witness appearing before the Scottish Parliament’s Petitions Committee called for such inquiry. It remains unknown whether SCAI’s work will be extended for that, with previous calls to extend the remit of the Inquiry not having been implemented by the Scottish Government.

Frank Hughes, Partner and Fiona McEwan, Associate

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