Abuse survivors "abandoned" after officials KEEP cash-for-silence waiver in Redress Bill

Woman sitting on bench

ABUSE victims have been “abandoned” by the government after officials voted to keep a cash-for-silence waiver, our expert abuse lawyer has claimed.

Yesterday (Thurs) the Redress for Survivors (Historical Child Abuse in Care) (Scotland) Bill was passed into law as a means to compensate abuse survivors.

However the scheme forces victims to waive their rights to any legal action in exchange for payments as little as £10,000 – a fraction of what they could actually be entitled to.

It was hoped the payments could at least be offset against a future claim but this has also been ruled this out.

Last night it was suggested the waiver was kept over fears organisations like religious groups would otherwise have refused pay into the scheme.

It is now feared Redress will work similar to the CICA with compensation awarded via a tariff system rather than reflect the actual abuse and actual losses and harm experienced by a survivor.

Kim Leslie, Partner at Digby Brown, said: “The government has had an agenda on Redress from day one.

“Despite repeated loud warnings and pleas from survivor groups for more than a year the government has pressed on with this disgraceful waiver.

“How do we know it’s disgraceful? Because it strips people of their rights and benefits liable organisations more than the victims.

“Now we need to make sure survivors are fully aware of their rights and we help empower choice around seeking independent help so they are not coerced into a corner and accept tariff-like offers that we see at the CICA.

“Cash for silence is just another form of abuse and I am in no doubt that many survivors will feel the government abandoned them by retaining this waiver.”

If abuse survivors opt to take a Redress payment then they will be entitled to payments of £10,000.

If they feel they deserve more then there are plans to have a special committee look at their individual case where inflated payments of either £20,000, £40,000, £60,000, £80,000 or £100,000 may apply.

However these sums pale in significance when it comes to raising a legal action.

Ms Leslie, also a director of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers (ACAL), has settled landmark cases in the recent past – cases, and accountability, that the Redress waiver will prevent.

These included £1million for three siblings in a legal action against the Church of Scotland.

Last year a client secured £240,000 against the Sisters of Nazareth and another won damages from Celtic FC after being abused as a youth footballer.

Ms Leslie added: “The Redress waiver would prevent such life-changing settlements from being possible.

“But more importantly it would stop survivors getting the individual recognition they deserve – and the waiver also lets liable organisations and perpetrators of abuse continue to hide as it stops them being held publicly accountable.”