Survivors of abuse in care in Scotland will be eligible for financial redress, Deputy First Minister John Swinney MSP has announced.
The Deputy First Minister confirmed the Scottish Government accepts the main recommendations put forward by the InterAction Action Plan Review Group and that, subject to Parliamentary approval, legislation for a financial redress scheme will be passed by the end of this parliamentary term.
He also confirmed that advance payments will be made as soon as possible to survivors who may not live long enough to apply to a statutory scheme, due to either ill-health or age.
Mr Swinney furthermore offered an unreserved and heartfelt apology on behalf of the Scottish Government to all those who were abused as children while in care, saying:
"Today, on behalf of the Scottish Government, I offer an unreserved and heartfelt apology to everyone who suffered abuse in care in Scotland. We are deeply ashamed of what happened.
"We will progress, without delay, to detailed design of a redress scheme, ensuring we learn lessons from other countries. We will move to make advance payments as soon as we possibly can, and will do so with urgency.
"I am determined we will have a redress scheme in Scotland which treats survivors with sensitivity and respect. Their courage and determination to speak out for justice and to protect children today and in the future from experiencing the abuse that they suffered is inspiring."
Those survivors of in care abuse who took part in the national consultation on redress have identified issues that are important to them in relation to scheme design and these will be given full consideration in the next steps. It will be open to survivors of abuse in care. Further details, including how much will be awarded to individuals, will be considered in the next stage as part of scheme design.
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“It will take time to design the detail of a redress scheme and it requires legislation which has to be passed first in the Scottish Parliament. It is important that we design a scheme that is sensitive and respectful to survivors and that we learn lessons from other countries that have already done so.
“The Scottish Government will begin discussions with providers of care services to consider ways in which we can respect the recommendation of the Review Group that all those responsible should contribute to the redress scheme.
“The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry is looking at the nature and extent of that abuse and the failures which allowed it to happen. In due course, it will publish a report and recommendations.”