Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Child migrants to receive government compensation at last

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The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse can now point to a solid achievement.

The government, reports BBC News, has agreed to pay compensation to thousands of Britons who were sent abroad as children under a resettlement scheme, often to a life of drudgery and abuse..

Back in 2010, Gordon Brown apologised on behalf of the government, referring to a "shameful episode" in Britain's history, and the Department of Health said it would set up the compensation scheme as quickly as possible.

But since then nothing has happened.

So it looks as though it was the inquiry's March hearings into the child emigration scheme and call for compensation to be paid within 12 months that made things happen.


Unknown said...

The decision of HMG to pay compensation to child migrants was probably inevitable but it certainly took a long time. Inevitable, I say, because the IICSA was quite clear in its recommendation; knowing that compensation for sexual abuse wasn't within its remit it made a bold decision to recommend compensation for the act of emigrating the children. Chances of not being sexually abused in an Australian Christian Brothers institution weren't high so the IICSA's decision nicely made sure that all surviving sexual abuse victims were compensated in some way. It must be said that HMG was magnanimous in agreeing to the recommendation (and I say that with no sarcasm), and the magnanimity was added to by its willingness to pay claims of child migrants who died after publication of the report.

I would like to quote from my Ausralian Federal MP, Ben Morton, who wrote to the Home Secretary on my behalf on this matter: [t]his is

Unknown said...

"[t]his is an instance where justice delayed is truly justice denied. This was unspeakable abuse to some of society's most vulnerable individuals - children thousands of miles away from family, friends, and everything they were familiar with.
The sheer helplessness and terror that these children suffered is appalling"

Unknown said...

One more feature of the IICSA recommendation was that it said that migrsnt children were placed AT RISK of child sexual abuse. 0

Anonymous said...

Too little, too late seems an appropriate description. This issue was first made public by the Child Migrants Trust in 1987, Neither of the two main governments involved - UK and Australia - have fully faced up to their role in this policy disaster by calling for an independent judicial inquiry. IICSA did not include child migrants in its original brief. Many child migrants did not live long enough given the slow pace of official response to see justice. The level of compensation at 20,000 Sterling is not exactly generous if your whole life has been damaged by deceit, abuse and degradation as a vulnerable child.
What would take to have seen a 100% improvement in the government response? An apology after 11 years and a real not token commitment to making amends were not too much to ask.Clearly, where disadvantaged, minority groups are badly treated, there is little sense of urgency to avoid official denial and do something positive while there is still time.