Lambeth Redress Scheme – Update as of April 2020

The Lambeth Children’s Homes Redress Scheme (LRS) was launched on 2 January 2018 and can accept applications up to 1 January 2022.

The LRS provides survivors of physical and/or sexual and/or psychological abuse (whilst resident in a Lambeth Children’s Home) with an alternative dispute mechanism for obtaining compensation without having to go through the Courts.

It covers all Children’s Homes which were run by Lambeth Council and applies to all residents dating back to the 1930s until the Homes were closed in the 1980 and 90s.

Since the LRS opened a total of 1,479 applications have been made.

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Lambeth admits failings and apologies in advance of IICSA Hearings

IICSA yesterday commenced its four week virtual public hearing in the Children in the Care of Lambeth Council investigation.

The first hearings are scheduled to run from the 29 June until the 10 July 2020 and then further hearings will take place from the 10 July to the 31 July, 2020

The IICSA investigation into the extent of any institutional failures to protect children in the care of Lambeth Council from sexual abuse and exploitation was originally announced in November 2015.

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Data breach at NI Commissioner for victims confirmed as “procedural error”

A data breach occurred when a newsletter was sent to a number of people in a circulation list held by the Commissioner’s Office. The names included around 250 people who were victims or survivors of historic abuse.

Following disclosure of the breach an investigation was started to identify the cause.  The Executive Office accepted that the incident had created problems for many victims and an inquiry has confirmed that the cause of the breach was a “procedural error.”

Mr McAllister had indicated he would await the outcome of any investigation and reflect on calls for him to resign in light of those investigations.

It is likely that this situation will ease pressure on him to resign and while some still feel he should leave many other victims and survivors continue to appreciate his work and support.


Written by Fintan Canavan, Partner at BLM

fintan.canavan@blmlaw.com

 

 

 

 

IICSA publishes report into child sexual abuse in sport

IICSA has recently published a Truth Project thematic report that focuses on child sexual abuse within sport. The report follows a detailed, qualitative analysis of victim and survivor experiences of child sexual abuse in sport to identify themes and inform future recommendations.

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Further pressure on NI Interim Commissioner for Victims

Just over a week after the NI Executive opened the process to appoint a full-time commissioner for victims and survivors of institutional abuse the Interim commissioner, Brendan McAllister, has come under further pressure to resign as a result of his role in the Catholic Church.  It was known that he had started the process of becoming a Deacon in the Catholic Church and he recently took part in a service in St Peter’s church in his full clerical garb.

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Polish priests refuse to confirm loyalty to bishop accused of sex abuse cover-up

Priests in the Polish diocese of Kalisz have refused to sign letters of loyalty to their bishop, who has been accused in a documentary of covering up child sex abuse.

The documentary “Hide and Seek” by Marek and Tomasz Sekielski, was aired on YouTube on 16 May 2020, and has been watched by 7.2 million people.

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Australian Redress Scheme significantly increases its rate of outcomes

Readers of this blog will be aware that we have commented in the past on the slow rate of decision making in the Australian National Redress Scheme (NRS).

In our blog published on 28/05/2020 we also reported on the First Interim Report of the Joint Select Committee on Implementation of the National Redress Scheme in Australia which also made a series of recommendations about how the NRS and its day-to-day functioning could be reviewed and improved.

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Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry releases spring / summer 2020 newsletter

On 9 June 2020 the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (SCAI) released a spring / summer 2020 newsletter. This is the seventh SCAI newsletter (link here). This newsletter gives reassurance that SCAI has not stopped working during the COVID-19 (C-19) crisis albeit public hearings – including on child migration and, separately, boarding schools – are postponed until further notice.

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Codeword scheme for domestic abuse victims

The Government recently hosted a virtual Hidden Harms Summit in Downing Street with the aim of supporting victims of abuse during the current health crisis.

The Summit was hosted by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and attendees included representatives from the National Crime Agency, National Police Chiefs’ Council, victims’ commissioners and leading domestic abuse and children’s charities.

The focus on the summit was to put measures in place to support victims of crimes such as domestic abuse, sexual violence, child sexual abuse and modern slavery.

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Online abuse

As countries have closed schools to contain the pandemic there are warnings that there is an increased risk of children being groomed and coerced online into making explicit images and videos of themselves.  A combination of children spending more time at home and on the internet is creating the ‘perfect storm’.

Data gathered by the BBC reveals that demand for imagery has shot up.  Europol said it had seen increased online activity by those seeking child abuse material and reports of obscene online material more than doubled globally between March to April 2020.

Childline and the NSPCC have both reported an increase in those seeking support through their helplines.

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