A government fund offering support to survivors of childhood abuse in care has lowered the qualifying age for applicants.
The Advance Payment Scheme provides financial compensation and an apology to those who were abused in care in Scotland before December 2004, and who either have a terminal illness or are age 68 and over.
It was introduced in April 2019 with a qualifying age of 70 and over ahead of a wider payment scheme which will offer redress to other survivors of abuse in care that is due to open in March 2021.
However, following a review of the scheme the decision has been made to lower the qualifying with immediate effect in order to benefit abuse survivors who may not live long enough to apply to the statutory redress scheme when it is established.
The Advance Payment Scheme will see successful applicants receive a flat rate of £10,000, with £10m being set aside for the scheme this year. Those wishing to apply for the scheme will not be required to submit evidence of having been abused, but will require documentary evidence which shows they were in care.
Places of care which are covered by the scheme include children’s homes, foster care, secure care units including List D schools, Young Offenders’ Institutions and Borstals, among others.
Deputy first minister John Swinney said he hoped the scheme would go some way towards acknowledging the grievous harm inflicted on those who were abused while in care. He said:
‘This reduction in age threshold will offer more survivors, who may not live long enough to apply to the future statutory redress scheme, the opportunity to receive recognition and acknowledgement for the abuse they suffered in care and the impact that has had. We know how meaningful that can be for some individuals.
‘While clearly nothing can take away the pain that individuals have suffered, the scheme, together with other actions we are taking, will go some way towards acknowledging the grievous harm inflicted on them when they were most vulnerable.’
A dedicated phone line, set up to help survivors apply to the scheme, is operated by specially trained staff. The number to call is 0808 169 9740. The dedicated phone line operates Monday to Thursday, 10am – 4pm. It will be closed over the festive period from 19 December and will re-open on 6 January. For more information click here.
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