The Lambeth Children’s Homes Redress Scheme has been up and running since January of this year and was, according to Lambeth Council, put in place to ensure fairness.
Regrettably, this is not proving to be the case.
It has become clear that there is an obvious injustice in how survivors of abuse are being compensated, and that is something we at Hudgell Solicitors are challenging as we act for around 40 former residents of the Shirley Oaks Children’s Home.
There are two types of payment being made available under the scheme.
The Harm’s Way Payment is for those who were resident at a Lambeth Children’s Home and feared they would be physically and/or sexually abused, and/or those who were neglected and/or suffered cruelty whilst a resident at a Lambeth Children’s Home, where specified criteria is met.
The Individual Redress Payment is for those who suffered sexual abuse and/or physical abuse and/or psychological injury at a Lambeth Children’s Home and/or Shirley Oaks Primary School, where specified criteria are met.
The problem lies in a ruling as part of the scheme which says the Harm’s Way Payment is NOT paid in addition to the Individual Redress Payment, and is instead to be classed as ‘an interim payment for redress’.
It therefore means any compensation awarded under the Individual Redress Payment will not be made in addition to any Harm’s Way Payment.
For somebody awarded a Harm’s Way Payment of £10,000 and Individual Redress Payment of £8,000, their total compensation would be just £10,000 – the same as others who were at the home but suffered abuse to a lesser extent.
In early April, this firm wrote to Lambeth on behalf of the Shirley Oaks Survivors Association (SOSA) and the solicitors representing survivors of abuse inviting them to change the scheme. The answer was no.
SOSA proceeded to demonstrate in front of Lambeth Town Hall, which was covered by the South London Press and Mercury newspaper, an article for which I was asked to contribute and in which I commented that Lambeth needs to remember these were their children and that it is wrong that those who suffered more will only get a Harm’s Way Payment.
The Mayor has now invited SOSA in for a meeting and we at Hudgell Solicitors have now convened a meeting between the solicitors representing survivors of abuse, so that information about the way in which the Scheme is being implemented by Lambeth can be shared.
If you are a survivor of abuse and you think you qualify under Lambeth’s Redress Scheme contact myself Malcolm Johnson or Steve Walster on 0800 321 3322.