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More than 600 survivors in Scotland have received Advanced Payments

More than 600 survivors of non-recent abuse have received payments from the Advance Payment Scheme in Scotland, the Scottish government has revealed.

In response to a Freedom of Information request, the Scottish government said that as of 13 August 2021, there had been 757 applications made to the Advance Payment Scheme and payments have been made to 639 survivors.

The Advance Payment Scheme is for applicants age 68 years and over and for those who are terminally ill. It opened in April 2019 ahead of the planned legislation for a statutory redress scheme. As a result, survivors of childhood abuse, which occurred in care in Scotland, can apply for advanced redress payments. The payments have been set at a flat rate of £10,000 and will be ex gratia and discretionary.

The Scottish government stated that of the 639 applications where payments had been made, 580 applicants were eligible on age grounds and 59 applicants were eligible on health grounds.

The FOI request asked how many people were interviewed by the Scottish Child Abuse forum. The Scottish government responded that there were 180 testimonies given to the National Confidential Forum between 2015-2020.

Established under the Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014, the National Confidential Forum was set up to listen to, acknowledge, and put on public record the experiences of people who were in institutional care as children, and to learn lessons from the past and ran in parallel to the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry and the Independent Care Review.

The FOI request also asked how many of the victims who had been interviewed have passed away since being interviewed including taking their own lives, drug overdoses or being killed by a person or person unknown. It also questioned how many people interviewed were in prison. However, the Scottish government responded that as the individuals' details have been anonymised, they do not know what has happened to individuals since their testimonies.

When questioned about how many care homes have been investigated and how many abusers have been convicted and sentenced handed down by courts, the Scottish government said that with regards to the National Confidential Forum, this detailed information is not held.

However, from the amount of disclosures made to Police Scotland from 2015 -2020, there were 16 in 2015-16, 21 in 2016-17, 11 in 2017-18, 19 in 2018-19 and 10 in 2019-2020.

The Scottish government was questioned as to what support had been provided to survivors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“With regards to the National Confidential Forum, home working commenced March 2020 and they immediately set about introducing contingencies to ensure care-experienced people could continue to have the opportunity to be heard. They introduced facilities and protocols which enable them to offer hearings confidentially by video conference and teleconference,” said the government response.

“They continued to work alongside their stakeholders to offer further support to those who were interviewed where appropriate.”

“The Scottish Government funds 29 support organisations through the Survivors of Childhood Abuse Support (SOCAS) Fund and a number of these organisations are survivor-led. The Survivor Support Policy Team was in regular contact with the organisations at regular meetings (and still are) to offer support and advice during lockdown however we do not know how many or who of the members of the organisations are survivors or if they took part in the National Confidential Forum,” the response added.

The FOI also revealed that the Scottish government expects that there will be 1,500 next of kin applications made to the redress scheme. “But this is simply an estimate and the actual number of next of kin redress payments made will depend solely on the number of eligible applications received over the lifetime of the scheme,” the government concluded.

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