More clarity required regarding redress for historic abuse survivors

21 Oct

THE Faculty of Advocates has issued a response to the Assessment Framework to be used to support decision-making by Redress Scotland on applications for individually assessed payments in terms of the Redress for Survivors (Historical Abuse in Care) Scotland Act 2021.

Commenting on whether the framework provided enough detail and clarity to allow survivors of historical abuse and their representatives to ascertain how individual experiences might sit within the payment levels, the Faculty said it felt some changes were required.

“The wording in each payment level section should be changed to make it clear that the panel must assess the abuse suffered by reference to the nature, severity, frequency and duration of the abuse, along with any other matter which may be considered relevant,” said the Faculty.

“There remains some vagueness of language. For example, in relation to the duration of abuse, it is stated that applicants for payment level 3 are likely to have spent a number of years in the abusive care setting, while for payment level 4 applicants are likely to have spent a significant proportion of childhood in the abusive care setting. Surely it is the frequency of the abuse and over what period which is important, rather than the time spent in the care setting. It is not explained what duration of abuse would be regarded as short, medium or long-term, or what impact that would make to the assessment.”

The Faculty agreed that the different payment levels in the framework were sufficiently distinct in terms of abusive behaviours that fell under each, and that the examples of abuse provided did demonstrate an escalation of the extent of the abuse, upward from the first level to subsequent payment levels. However, Faculty said that given that the examples of relevant factors that should be taken into consideration for all levels of payment were the same, reaching consistent decisions as regards redress could become problematic.

The Faculty’s full response can be accessed here