Victims of child abuse get 50-year compensation window after MSPs vote to remove time bar

Victims of child abuse get 50-year compensation window after MSPs vote to remove time bar

Jun 23, 2017

The Scottish Parliament has voted to remove the three-year limit on child abuse survivors suing for damages in court. This will allow victims of abuse dating back to September 26, 1964 to claim compensation for their injuries following the implementation of the Limitation (Childhood Abuse) (Scotland) Bill. The Bill was unanimously approved by 115 votes from MSPs. Under the Bill, the individual responsible for carrying out the abuse can be sued directly, and damages can also be sought against employers for their current or former employees. The Scottish government estimates a potential 2,200 victims will be affected by the changes in the law. When the Bill was tabled in February, Alistair Gaw from Social Work Scotland warned the payouts could cost around £200 million. Minister for Community Safety & Legal Affairs, Annabelle Ewing, said: “I would like to thank survivors who have been at the heart of this process – for their bravery and their persistence, for bringing to our attention the plight and injustices they have suffered, and for not giving up their fight to set these injustices right. “I am humbled by the courage they have shown, not only in campaigning for this legislative change but also coming forward and sharing their experiences. “While our police and prosecutors continue to pursue perpetrators even many years after their crimes, this Bill will strengthen access to justice through the civil courts. “It recognises the unique position of survivors of childhood abuse as children who were betrayed by those they should have been able to trust – reflecting the abhorrent nature of the abuse, the vulnerability of the child at the time, and the profound impact of abuse; an impact which lasts well into adulthood and which, itself, prevents people from coming forward. “Survivors have been let down repeatedly: they were severely and fundamentally let down by their abuser and by the adults who were meant to protect them at the time. While raising a civil action may not be the right way forward for everyone, this Bill widens the options available to survivors seeking redress.” An Independent Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry into historical child abuse is currently underway, led by Judge Lady Smith. More than 60 institutions, including private schools and church bodies, are being investigated.

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