In our blog on 21 October 2022 we looked at the broad outline of the redress scheme recommended by IICSA for England and Wales in its final report. In this blog we intend to look at some of the more specific comments and observations made by IICSA on the topic of redress in its final report.
IICSA sees the primary rationale for the establishment of a National Redress Scheme for England and Wales being the need to address the failures of the past through the provision of recognition and reparation for victims and survivors.
This being the case IICSA says that it is vital that the Government directly engages with victims and survivors on the detail and establishment of the National Redress Scheme so as to ensure that when delivered the National Redress Scheme will be as simple and as non-adversarial as possible.
The proposed National Redress should:-
- Be open to applicants who have experienced child sexual abuse or exploitation in England or Wales whether that abuse took place in a State or non-State institution;
- Applicants should be allowed to seek redress under the scheme whether the abuse was perpetrated by adults or other children;
- Abuse by other children should only be covered where those operating the proposed scheme are satisfied that the sexual activity that took place between children was abusive, coercive or exploitative;
- As child sexual abuse and exploitation are often accompanied by physical and emotional abuse and neglect which can be equally distressing, the Government may want to include these other forms of abuse in the proposed National Redress Scheme.
- There must be a “clear connection”between the State or non-State institution where the applicant is abused and the sexual abuse experienced by the applicant. IICSA are clear that the proposed National Redress Scheme should not be limited to sexual abuse that took place on the institution’s premises but goes on to say that it is not for then to define what other circumstances may be covered. However, it does make a few suggestions as to what other circumstances may be covered such as :-
- whether the institution was responsible for the care or custody of the child – for example, ‘looked after children’, who are children in the care of local authorities or accommodated by local authorities (for more than a continuous period of 24 hours);
- whether the sexual abuse occurred on the premises of the institution (whilst the institution was still in control of the premises) or in connection with its activities; and
- whether the sexual abuse was committed, caused or contributed to by a person working or volunteering at the institution, in the context of those activities.
- IICSA envisage that the proposed National Redress Scheme should cover all children placed by the State in private or voluntary care homes, children placed in foster care by the State using the States own foster care scheme or a private or voluntary care agency but it will not cover other arrangements, including private arrangements not otherwise sanctioned or approved by an institution.
- The proposed National Redress Scheme is only to cover child sexual abuse that takes place prior to the establishment of the National Redress Scheme.
In a further blog to be published in the coming days we will look at the issues of double recovery, the nature and extent of financial awards that IICSA envisage being made by the proposed National Redress Scheme and IICSA’s views on some aspect of the process to be adopted.
However, what seems clear from our analysis of IICSA’s recommendation on the issue of redress to date, is that IICSA envisages a National Redress Scheme for England and Wales which will be all things to all people, something that the Government may struggle to deliver on.