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Background Info

Previous petition PE535 called for a forum which has not been established as the current forum is discriminatory and limited. Indeed, the forum as it stands is discriminatory and is only open to those who were in the care of Quarriers institution as children. Furthermore survivors who are terminally ill and voiced a need to tell of their experiences to a sympathetic experienced forum are being denied the opportunity. Solely because they were not in the chosen institution. Survivors of institutional abuse feel on human rights grounds this is unacceptable. 

In February 2010 the Minister for Children and Early Years Adam Ingram MSP announced that the Scottish Government would be, “taking forward a forum to give survivors the chance to speak about their experiences to help come to terms with the past. This will provide an invaluable opportunity to establish the facts learn from the suffering and use the experience to help us to protect and provide for children in the future”.

The Minister summed up very well the reasons for such a forum. However there was no indication within his announcement that the forum would be restricted to those who as children were in the care of Quarriers organisation. The forum as it stands excludes survivors of institutional child abuse who were in the care of the state in local authority run homes or those in the care of religious orders or independently run homes.

The forum is a closed or confidential one. There was an option to implement an open forum in line with Ireland’s Residential Institutions Redress Board. It is already recognised by the Scottish Government that this forum is necessary. It would be cathartic and healing for the survivors. The Minister announced in February 2010 the necessity for a forum. In Ireland the Redress Board Compensation scheme allowed survivors to rebuild lives and come to terms with the past as well as give recognition that a wrong had been done. 

Notes on the Residential Institutions Redress Board Ireland : www.rirb.ie

Number of Applicants
2003 Total Applicants: 2,573
2004 Total Applicants : 2,539
2005  Total Applicants : 9,432

NB Closing Date was 15th December 2005
By 2008 Overall Total Applicants : 14,565
Source the Annual Reports of the RIRB Ireland

Number and amounts of awards by the RIRB
The Board commenced making awards in May 2003 and by 31 December 2008 it had completed the process in 12,547 cases as detailed below:

• 9,332 offers/awards made following settlement.
• 2,183 awards made following hearings (6 awards rejected by applicant)
• 333 awards following review
• 699 applications withdrawn refused or resulted in a nil or no award.

The total awards made by the RIRB to the 31st December 2008 amounts to:

• €760.6 MILLION
• The average value of awards is approximately € 64,200
• The largest award being €300,500

“The Residential Institutions Redress Board was established under the Residential Institutions Redress Act 2002 Ireland. To make financial awards to assist in the recovery of certain persons who as children were abused while resident in certain institutions in the State and who have or have had injuries that are consistent with that abuse.”

Source for RIRB Material the Annual Reports of the Residential Institutions Redress Board Ireland    www.rirb.ie

In Ireland they dealt with the “time bar” law by changing the Statute of Limitations in child abuse cases.

A compensation element should be adopted as the Scottish Government and institutions are complicit and culpable. It is necessary to set up a forum open to all survivors of institutional child abuse in Scotland. The Time to be Heard Forum is discriminatory and select. It does not include or prioritise elderly and terminally ill survivors who were not residents in Quarriers institution. There is a need for such a forum as recognised by the Scottish Government

Will there be a forum open to all? Will it have a compensation scheme similar to Ireland’s? The Scottish Government may highlight the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme however that scheme provides token awards which is not reflective of the severity and extent of the abuse which was experienced by the survivors.  The Scottish Government, the Commissioners and Chair of the Time to be Heard Forum should be approached regarding any questions raised within this petition.

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