Compensation scheme for child abuse victims to be set up following inquiry

Home secretary Suella Braverman said the new scheme is a 'landmark commitment'. Credit: PA

A national compensation scheme for child sexual abuse victims it to be introduced in England following a seven-year inquiry into institutional failings.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman told MPs the scheme was a "landmark commitment", but accepted it would take some time to get off the ground.

“It will mark a step change in our approach to child sexual abuse, we need to and we will get it right, and if that takes time that is time well spent," she told the Commons on Monday.

"I do not want to give victims and survivors the false impression that implementing these big commitments will just happen overnight."

The fixed-term compensation scheme for victims follows a recommendation by the Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), which ran for seven years and published its final report in October.

Mrs Braverman said she hoped the redress scheme 'heralds a new start' for victims. Credit: PA

Ms Braverman said the new scheme "heralds a new start" and "signifies a change in direction", but opposition MPs urged her not to delay introducing the necessary reforms.

The £186.6 million inquiry, set up in 2015, looked at 15 areas scrutinising institutional responses to child sexual abuse in England and Wales.

It included investigations into abuse in Westminster and the church, with more than 7,000 victims taking part in the probe. The IICSA's recommendation said applicants to the scheme should have experienced abuse “where there is a clear connection to state or non-state institutions”. In making the case for a redress scheme, the inquiry said there were issues with current civil justice and criminal compensation schemes which often “do not provide the accountability and reparation sought by victims and survivors of child sexual abuse”. The government said that victims, survivors and charities will be consulted on a number of areas of the scheme, including on who it should support and how non-state institutions should be involved.

Rishi Sunak with Suella Braverman Credit: Phil Noble/PA

But ministers rejected a number of the inquiry’s other recommendations, for example, ruling out calls for a minister for children in the Cabinet. In a formal response published on Monday, the government argued that the Education Secretary already “provides a voice at Cabinet for the safeguarding and protection of children”. While it accepted the need for a stronger safeguarding system, it rejected a recommended Child Protection Authority claiming its functions are already covered by existing bodies.

Ms Braverman, who visited Barnardo’s children’s charity in east London earlier, said the compensation scheme “must mark a step change for victims and survivors”. She told broadcasters she hoped the scheme would bring “some finality, some acknowledgment of what they have been through and hopefully some closure”. Ministers also said the government is moving “quickly” to introduce a mandatory duty on professionals working with children to report concerns about sexual abuse.

The home secretary met staff at Barnardo's head office in London today. Credit: PA

“In too many instances, as all the reports really set out, those signs have not been acted upon," the home secretary said. Ms Braverman said an ongoing 12-week consultation on mandatory reporting would ensure ministers get "get the right balance". The Home Office said that ministers are also looking at ways to improve access to therapeutic support for victims, while also improving the collection of police data on child abuse.

Anna Edmundson, head of policy at the NSPCC, said that elements of the announcement were “disappointing”, arguing that reforms "need to go further and faster".

She added: “A staggering 103,000 offences were recorded by police last year and it is disappointing that the needs of children who are subjected to sexual abuse are missing from the pledges the government makes today. “Survivors of abuse deserve redress but it is also vital that child victims of sexual abuse can access therapeutic support when and where they need it. “It is disappointing that the inquiry’s clear recommendation that all child victims of sexual abuse should be guaranteed specialist, accredited therapeutic support is absent from the concrete commitments made by the government.”

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IICSA Changemakers, a group of 64 organisations urging the government to go further with its reforms, said they were “concerned by the lack of any meaningful support for children and adult survivors”. “The commitments that have been made do not translate to immediate action which would achieve the scale of change required to create and sustain a national movement to prevent, recognise and address child sexual abuse." Ian Dean, director of the Centre of Expertise on Child Sexual Abuse, welcomed the announcement but said that the details, which will come after further consultation, would be “incredibly important”. He added: “It is vital that the government honours its commitments to victims and survivors, and to protecting children today from sexual abuse in the future.”

Last month, Rishi Sunak and Ms Braverman announced a crackdown on grooming gangs, with a new task force of specialist officers assisting local police forces to solve child sexual exploitation investigations. The prime minister promised to “stop at nothing to stamp out these vile crimes, punish the perpetrators and make sure every child across the country can grow up in a safe environment”.

If you you've witnessed an assault or think a child is in immediate danger, contact the police on 999 or call the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000 immediately.

If you're worried about a child, you can contact your local police or children's services, report child abuse on the Gov UK website, or contact these numbers.

NSPCC Helpline: 0808 800 5000 (24 hours, every day) Report abuse in education: 0800 136 663

UK's leading charity specialising in child protection and the prevention of cruelty to children. The free helpline is for anyone, children or adults, concerned about a child at risk of abuse. The NSPCC also runs high profile campaigns for children's rights, such as Full Stop and administers 180 regional teams and projects, and conducts research into child abuse and its effects. We also offer help and support to all children and young people making current and non-recent disclosures of sexual harassment or abuse on school grounds within school time, and incidents linked to school in any capacity. ChildLine Helpline: 0800 1111 (24 hours) ChildLine is a counselling service for children and young people. You can contact ChildLine in these ways: You can phone on 0800 1111, send us an email, have a 1-2-1 chat with us, send a message to Ask Sam and you can post messages to the ChildLine message boards. You can contact ChildLine about anything - no problem is too big or too small. If you are feeling scared or out of control or just want to talk to someone you can contact ChildLine. The Mix Helpline: 0808 808 4994 Life’s tough, we know that. It can throw a lot your way and make it hard to know what the hell to do with it all. Whether you’re 13, 25, or any age in between, we’re here to take on the embarrassing problems, weird questions, and please-don’t-make-me-say-it-out-loud thoughts you have. We give you the information and support you need to deal with it all. Kidscape Parents Advice Line: 07496 682785 (Mon-Tues, 9.30-2.30) WhatsApp: 07496 682785 Committed to keeping children safe from bullying and child abuse, the helpline offers advice to parents on any concerns about school bullying. The website includes a forum for children to talk about their experiences of bullying, details of courses to help children to cope with bullying and you can order free booklets and leaflets on child safety and the prevention of bullying and abuse. Papyrus Papyrus HOPElineUK – 0800 068 41 41

Support for those dealing with suicide, depression or emotional distress – particularly teenagers and young adults. Stop it Now! UK & Ireland Confidential Helpline: 0808 1000 900

Abuse thrives in an atmosphere of secrecy and taboo. The Stop it Now! UK & Ireland campaign aims to stop child sexual abuse by encouraging abusers and potential abusers to seek help and by giving adults the information they need to protect children effectively. Stop it Now! believes sexual abuse is preventable and challenges adults to create a society that no longer tolerates the sexual abuse of children. NAPAC (National Association of People Abused in Childhood) Helpline: 0808 801 0331

We are the only national organisation focused on supporting adults who have been abused in any way as children. We know that most children who are abused don't talk about it until they become adults and NAPAC exists to support survivors of child abuse when want to talk and receive support. Safeline National Male Survivor Helpline: 0808 800 5005 Office: 01926 402 498 Safeline is a specialist charity that works to prevent sexual violence and abuse and support those affected to cope and recover. Our Vision is that everyone affected by or at risk of sexual violence and abuse should feel supported and empowered. Safeline provides specialist, tailored support for anyone affected by or at risk of sexual abuse and rape, that empowers them to make choices about the lives they want and helps prevent abuse. Rape Crisis (England and Wales) Helpline: 0808 500 2222 (24/7) Rape Crisis England & Wales is the charity working to end sexual violence and abuse. We provide specialist information and support to all those affected by rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment and all other forms of sexual violence and abuse in England and Wales. We are also the membership organisation for 39 Rape Crisis centres. Together, we aim to educate, influence and make change. The Survivors Trust Helpline: 0808 801 0818 Text: 07860 022956 Rape and sexual abuse can happen to anyone regardless of their age, gender, race, religion, culture or social status. Living with the consequences of rape and sexual abuse can be devastating. We believe that all survivors are entitled to receive the best possible response to their needs whether or not they choose to report. Survivors UK – Male Rape and Sexual Abuse Support We are here for any man, boy or non-binary person who has ever experienced unwanted sexual activity (such as words, images or touch). We can chat with you here through webchat, or by texting. There’s no pressure or judgement when you contact us – you get to stay in control. You can reach out as little or often as you like. You may not be sure if we’re the right service for you. No problem, contact us anyway, and we’ll do our best to help or point you in the right direction. Family Matters Helpline: 01474 537 392 If you have been subjected to sexual abuse and rape, one of your biggest challenges will be taking the decision to talk to someone. At Family Matters we know this can seem an enormous and daunting step. Established in 1990, we are a specialised charitable service and the largest provider of childhood sexual abuse and rape therapy in the country. Our work extends across 14 boroughs in Kent, West Mercia and South East London.