Kim Leslie on end of consultation for Redress Survivors Bill

woman looking out to sea at sunset

Kim Leslie, Partner at Digby Brown and Head of our Non-Accidental Team, today called on the Scottish Government to rethink a shameful ‘cash for silence’ waiver it intends to force on abuse survivors.

Official plans for the Redress Survivors Bill show individuals will have to forfeit their civil rights if they want to accept a £10,000 sum for attacks that happened before 1 December 2004. However this means survivors face losing out on much higher sums of compensation – while their abusers dodge accountability and save money.

Digby Brown is passionate about helping abuse survivors across Scotland and has helped people secure damages in high-profile cases linked to Scottish football, religious groups, local authorities and educational or social institutions.

This is Ms Leslie’s statement in relation to the plans for the Redress Survivors Bill:

“Forcing abuse survivors to waive civil rights in exchange for a redress payment is an abhorrent ultimatum that simply should not exist in a compassionate, just and democratic society.

“From a practical point of view the waiver is also completely counter-productive as it is the very thing that necessitates legal advice.

“A simpler and fairer approach would be to offset a redress payment against any future civil damages – this already happens with CICA payments and there is no reason why Redress can’t operate in this way as well.

“The reality is that the current Redress plans only benefit the very people and organisations who would otherwise be held accountable and abuse survivors did not spend years, sometimes decades, coming to terms with what happened only to be abused again by a system that’s meant to help them.

“Many survivors are not just subjected to physical attacks – they suffer life-long psychiatric injuries that can prevent them from working, which means the abuse contributed to a loss of earnings or pension.

“This is why personal injury claims for abuse offer survivors are fairer results because we take all that into account when investigating a case – and none of our clients ever had to sign their rights away to secure fair damages or hold their abuser accountable.

“Offering compensation in exchange for silence while a perpetrator dodges justice is a slap in the face to every survivor, support group, charity and campaigner across Scotland.

“Changes to the justice system are meant to improve it or empower choice and survivors should not have anything taken from them unless it’s replaced with something better.

“If the Scottish Government does not remove this shameful waiver clause then ministers can never again claim to hear or help victims.”