MOJ offers Medomsley abuse victims compensation

Hundreds of men who say that they were victims of abuse by staff at Medomsley in County Durham have become eligible for compensation after the Government changed the rules in respect of the proposed compensation scheme.

Medomsley was a youth detention centre in Consett, County Durham, which operated from the late 1960s until 1990.

It was the subject of the largest ever police investigation into historic abuse. Operation Seabrook resulted in the conviction of five former staff members in March 2019 for offences of misconduct in public office and physical assault.  This followed earlier convictions against two members of staff Neville Husband and Leslie Johnson for serious sexual assault.

To date there have been over 1800 allegations of abuse made in respect of Medomsley. A compensation scheme was set up by the MoJ in February 2020 but it included the stipulation that victims must have suffered physical abuse committed by a member of staff who was employed at Medomsley during the period they were detained and who had received a criminal conviction in respect of such offences.

However, following discussions between solicitors representing the survivors and the Government Legal Department an extended settlement scheme has been agreed by the MoJ. There is no longer a requirement for a survivor to have suffered physical abuse committed by a member of staff who has received a criminal conviction

The scheme will operate outside of the Civil Courts with a tariff of compensation awards dependent on the length of the period of detention. It will take into account any lasting physical and/or psychological injury.

The MoJ commented that it “acknowledges that a regime where seven former staff have been convicted of such crimes was inherently unsafe. To reflect the impact of the totality of the regime on the detainees, it has expanded the settlement scheme.”

Andy McDonald, Labour MP for Middlesbrough, welcomed the extension to the scheme but added “For victims though, this is not about money – it is instead about getting recognition for what they went through, being able to access much-needed support and ensuring that all those who committed crimes face justice.”

The revision to the scheme will allow many former detainees of Medomsley who were previously ineligible the opportunity to claim compensation. Individuals will be able to claim even if the staff involved have not been convicted, named or identified.

Nicholas Leigh, Associate, BLM

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