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HomeLegalNew compensation scheme to be set up for victims of child abuse

New compensation scheme to be set up for victims of child abuse

A new compensation scheme for victims of child sexual abuse will be introduced in England, the home secretary announced last month.

The announcement comes several months after a seven-year inquiry into institutional failings in England and Wales which recommended the creation of a redress scheme for survivors over and above the current criminal injury compensation scheme, which has been plagued with delays to victims getting compensation.

However, it is not yet clear who will receive compensation, how this will be funded or how much might be paid and opposition MPs urged the hoe secretary not to delay in introducing the necessary reforms, with some key changes set to be introduced following a consultation process.

Announcing the measure in the Commons, Ms Braverman said: “Of course nobody can ever fully compensate victims and survivors for the abuse they suffered. But what we can do is properly acknowledge their suffering, deliver justice and an appropriate form of redress. This is a landmark commitment, it will be complex and it will be challenging, but it really matters.”

The final report of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), published last October, called for a fixed-term compensation scheme for victims “let down by institutions in the past”.

The inquiry, which began in 2015 and drew on evidence from over 7,000 survivors, described the scale of child sex abuse in England and Wales as an epidemic which has left “thousands of victims in its poisonous wake”.

Ms Braverman described its findings as “harrowing” and said the IICSA “must be a watershed moment”.

The government will now consult with victims, survivors and charities to develop the scheme and understand who it should support.

Alongside the redress scheme, the government wants better access to therapeutic support for victims and survivors and will look at improving the way police collect data on child sexual abuse to better understand the scale and nature of the crime.

Although the CICA scheme is available to victims to make a claim for child sex abuse, the CICA has come under criticism over the years for not doing enough for victims of child sex abuse. It was only in 2019 that the controversial ‘same roof rule’ was abolished. Given that the majority of child sex abuse victims know their attacker and the younger the victims age, the likliehood of the abuser being a family member increases, for decades the CICA scheme failed thousands of child abuse victims who were prohibited from applying for compensation because they lived under the same roof as their abuser.

Anna Edmundson, head of policy at the NSPCC, said the proposals need to go “further and faster”.

“It is disappointing that the inquiry’s clear recommendation that all child victims of sexual abuse should be guaranteed specialist, accredited therapeutic support is absent from the concrete commitments made by the government,” she said.

Ian Dean, director of the Centre of Expertise on Child Sexual Abuse, welcomed the announcement but said that the details, which will come after further consultation, would be “incredibly important”

He added: “It is vital that the government honours its commitments to victims and survivors, and to protecting children today from sexual abuse in the future.”

Business Chamber is the online publication for economic, business and small business news, bringing you selected news on wider economic issues and business events interspersed with SME news stories that usually dont get a look in by mainstream syndicated news outlets.

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