Historic Abuse Claims
Lambeth Children’s Homes Redress Scheme
The Lambeth Children’s Homes Redress Scheme was established to compensate former residents of children’s homes run by Lambeth Council for physical, sexual and emotional abuse suffered between 1948 and 1990.
Lambeth Council ran a number of children’s homes between the 1930s and 90s where abuse took place, including Shirley Oaks, which was one of the biggest children’s homes in the UK.
Other homes where abuse occurred included South Vale, Wood Vale, Chevington House, Gresham Place, St Saviours, Highland Road and Angell Road.
The authority became the first council in the country to develop a redress scheme after the scale of abuse its former children’s homes was revealed by survivors. They alleged abuse on an ‘industrial scale’.
Lambeth Council has said it is ‘truly sorry for what happened to children in our care in the past’.
A council spokesperson said: “Lambeth Council gives a full apology for the abuse suffered at our former children’s homes which were open from the 1930s until the 1980s and 90s. They were incredibly badly let down and the redress scheme honours our pledge to face up to the mistakes of the past.”
The Lambeth Children’s Homes Redress Scheme has been running since January 2018 and is set to close to applicants on January 1, 2022.
Hudgell Solicitors’ influential role compensation scheme being established
Solicitor Malcolm Johnson, of Hudgell Solicitors, liaised with the Shirley Oaks Survivors Association (SOSA), an organisation which was instrumental in setting up the Redress Scheme with Lambeth London Borough Council.
He liaised with various parties, helping organise meetings between solicitors acting for some 1,000 former residents.
Meet Malcolm Johnson
Mr Johnson, who has extensive experience in running abuse claims and helped establish the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers (ACAL) some 20 years ago, has so far acted on behalf of some 70 former residents of the children’s homes, making claims to Lambeth London Borough Council under the Lambeth Redress Scheme.
This has included making claims on behalf of those representing deceased former residents, obtaining social services and medical records as well as instructing psychiatrists and other experts to assess the impact of abuse on peoples’ lives.
How the Lambeth Children’s Homes Redress Scheme works
The Lambeth Children’s Home Redress Scheme is a multi-million-pound compensation scheme which offers payments of up to £125,000 for victims of historic physical and sexual abuse.
Under the scheme, all former residents of a Lambeth Children’s Home who were living in and ‘subjected to a harsh environment’ are eligible to receive what is described as a ‘Harm’s Way Payment’ of up to £10,000, recognising that they feared they would be physically or sexually abused, or were neglected or suffered cruelty.
Higher damages payments can be made under the ‘Individual Redress Payments’ element of the scheme.
This recognises the suffering of sexual abuse and, or physical abuse and psychological injury. These claims can see damages payments of up to £125,000 awarded.
Total of £120m set aside to compensate victims – but deadline to apply looms
The scheme currently has a cut-off point of 1st January 2022 for applications. At Hudgell Solicitors we have called upon Lambeth Council to keep it open as long as possible and extend that date.
As of July 2020 it was reported that more than 1,600 people had applied and more than £46m had been paid out in compensation. However, it was also revealed that just 61% of applications had been processed to a conclusion. The Scheme expects to pay out a total £120m overall.
Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the scheme is still paying out compensation to former children in the care of Lambeth and large awards are being made. Efforts have also been made to advertise the scheme.
A large proportion of the children in care came from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds, and so Lambeth has been approaching media outlets in Nigeria and Jamaica, as well as consulates in Commonwealth countries.
Hudgells continues to act for a number of clients, but as the scheme closes on January 1st, 2022, Mr Johnson is concerned the deadline may come too soon for some.
He said: “We know from our clients that there are other former residents who should be compensated but for some reason have not yet come forward. Many may be completely unaware of the existence of this scheme and I believe it needs to be kept it open for as long as possible, and would like to see it extended until 2024.
“However, at the moment we have a deadline of January 1 2022 to work to and given that at present only around a third of the expected damages have been paid out, it has so far only reached the tip of the iceberg.
“We are determined to ensure we are able to support as many survivors of abuse as possible through the process and ensure that they are given all the support they need to get the redress and damages they deserve. Nobody should be left behind.”
Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse told of ‘childhoods stolen’ by abuse
In 2020 Mr Johnson ha acted on behalf of a number of Core Participants in the Lambeth Council strand of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), which has heard that vulnerable children were targeted by paedophiles working at children’s homes controlled by the council.
Despite the widespread abuse, the authorities failed to look into allegations at the time.
Giving evidence at the inquiry, Annie Hudson, strategic director of children’s services at Lambeth Council said: “It’s clear to me that a very, very great number of children effectively had their childhood stolen as a consequence of the abuse, the racist abuse, the emotional abuse, the sexual abuse, the physical abuse, and the general neglect of them and their lives.
“I’m really sorry for what happened to those children and I recognise that Lambeth’s betrayal of them was very profound and very prolonged.”
The IICSA is expected to be report its full findings into the ‘horrifying national scandal’ at Lambeth Children’s Homes in 2021.
Benefit from our specialist support in your claim for compensation
If you suffered abuse when a resident at a children’s home run by Lambeth Council you could be entitled to compensation as part of the Redress Scheme.
Contact our team today for free advice with regards to beginning the process of making a claim.