Scottish in-care child abuse redress bill at the second of three legislative stages

On Wednesday 10 February 2021 the Education and Skills committee at the Scottish Parliament will start to consider proposed amendments to the Redress for Survivors (Historical Child Abuse in Care) (Scotland) Bill.

In total, 107 amendments have so far been proposed. Further amendments could be proposed both during the current Stage 2 of the Scottish legislative process and also during the final third stage. Amendments made during Stage 2 could even be overturned by amendments at Stage 3. As is often the case, Stage 2 is being undertaken at committee level rather than by the Scottish Parliament sitting as a whole in chamber. Assuming that the bill proceeds to Stage 3, the parliament as a whole would consider and vote on any further proposed amendments before debating and deciding whether to pass the bill.

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The latest from the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry

The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (SCAI) has added a further ten institutions to the list of establishments under investigation, taking the total number under investigation to 96.

Four young offenders institutions are among the ten now added along with three local authority establishments, a religious school, an independent school and an industrial school, which became an “Approved” and then a “List D” school.

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Scottish claims and litigation

In recent blogs, we have considered the Scottish Government’s plan for a statutory redress scheme. One of the evolving issues is whether engagement with the statutory scheme should be to the exclusion of a claimant’s ability to issue civil court proceedings. Scottish Government is committed to establishing the legislative framework for a redress scheme before the end of March 2021.

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Scottish Government – Public Consultation – Proposals on redress payments, evidence and assessment

In our last blog we looked at the general overarching principles of the proposed statutory financial redress scheme (“the Scheme”) in Scotland.

In today’s blog we intend to look at the proposed redress payments, what evidence will be required and how the redress payable will be assessed.

It is the Scottish Government’s intention that the Scheme will provide for a combination payment approach which could have two possible stages much like the Lambeth Redress Scheme.

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Scottish statutory “in care” redress scheme

Today, Scottish Government launched a pre-legislative consultation on a redress scheme for childhood abuse in care.

A link to the consultation webpage is here. The consultation closes on 25 November 2019. Scottish Government has committed to introducing a Bill for a redress scheme in spring 2020 and for the legislation to be passed, assuming parliamentary approval, before March 2021. Royal Assent and possibly also a commencement order would then be needed to bring the Act’s provisions into force.

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Update on the Advance Payment Scheme in Scotland

The Advanced Payment Scheme (APS) is open to anyone who was in care as a child and was abused in care in Scotland before December 2004. Payments will be made on a discretionary basis to those who have a terminal illness or who are age 70 or over.

The APS has worked well with the first payments being made within three weeks of its launch.

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Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (SCAI): an update

Overview of present position

SCAI’s work, which started in October 2015, continues. SCAI is to report, with recommendations, to Scottish Ministers as soon as reasonably practicable after October 2019.

SCAI’s overall aim is to raise public awareness of the abuse of children in care (under 18) for the period “within living memory” of any person who suffered such abuse no later than 17 December 2014.

To date, SCAI has heard evidence in public during three phases. One set of findings relating to one part of one of the phases has been published. Further findings are anticipated shortly. Various expert reports have been commissioned and published.

The cost of SCAI to end 2018 was £19,737,688. Expenditure is published quarterly.

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Scottish update

On 9 March 2018, the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Bill, which we covered in our 12 February 2018 blog, became an Act of the Scottish Parliament upon the grant of Royal Assent. Its provisions will be brought into force at a later date by Scottish ministerial regulations. Continue reading

Scottish Limitation Abolition Bill and Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry Update

The Scottish Parliament has confirmed that it will debate the Limitation Abolition Bill, at Stage 1, in the afternoon of Thursday 27 April.

In other news, the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry, whose cost from its set-up on 1 October 2015 to 31 March 2017 has recently been confirmed at over £5.7m, has now set the timetable for Phase 1 of its Public Hearings. Commencing on 31 May there are evidence sessions scheduled to 9 June covering: Continue reading

Scottish Limitation Abolition Bill

The Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee has endorsed the general principles of the Bill proposing the retrospective abolition of limitation in cases of childhood abuse. Nonetheless, significant issues of detail and relevant concerns have been flagged in the Committee’s Stage 1 Report. This is now for further consideration by the Scottish Government. We summarise the position taken by the Committee on pre-26 September 1964 abuse then list the issues which have been flagged for further attention. Continue reading