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Survivors of abuse in Islington’s children’s homes demand compensation payouts for the horrors they suffered

PUBLISHED: 07:01 23 May 2018 | UPDATED: 12:48 23 May 2018

Dr Liz Davies of Islington Survivors Network. Picture: Polly Hancock

Dr Liz Davies of Islington Survivors Network. Picture: Polly Hancock

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Survivors of horrific abuse in Islington’s kids’ homes are fighting for compensation decades after at least 100 were allegedly brutalised under the council’s care.

Dr Davies, original whistleblower on the abuse scandal, was at the meeting where the survivors' group demanded compensation payouts. Picture: Ken MearsDr Davies, original whistleblower on the abuse scandal, was at the meeting where the survivors' group demanded compensation payouts. Picture: Ken Mears

Islington Survivors’ Network (ISN) met with town hall chiefs and lawyers last week to try and force the council to set up a redress scheme.

The campaign group told the council it has testimony from more than 100 survivors who were allegedly abused, either sexually or physically, while under the care of Islington social services or in Islington children’s homes from the 1970s to 1990s.

Council leader Cllr Richard Watts apologised to survivors and accepted the council’s culpability at a public meeting last September.

But now survivors are asking for financial compensation.

Dr Liz Davies, ISN co-ordinator and original whistleblower on the scandal, said a redress scheme was the best way forward.

“Addressing each case individually would involve lengthy, costly and protracted legal processes which would be distressing for survivors and would add to the trauma of the abuse they experienced in Islington’s care,” she said.

She called for the town hall to act with urgency, saying: “Sadly, two survivors have died since the need for the redress was first presented.”

The legal team acting for ISN first approached the council last September.

Children’s services chief Carmel Littleton reportedly told ISN a decision on whether to set up a scheme did not have to await the outcome of an independent review.

The review is investigating allegations that former mayor and ex-political head of social services Sandy Marks had links to a pro-paedophile group in early 1980, as revealed by the Gazette last year.

It is due to report back in September.

Survivor’s evidence has also been passed to police.

Alison Millar, partner at Leigh Day, representing ISN, said: “There are significant numbers of people who have come forward who would have legal claims.”

Cllr Watts told the Gazette: “We’re very sorry for Islington Council’s past failure to protect vulnerable children in its care. The council today is a very different place, and protecting children from harm is our top priority.

“The council is committed to supporting survivors of child abuse with issues including housing, welfare, social work support and access to their care records, and we’ve worked with survivors to set up a specialist counselling service.

“We are continuing to work with abuse survivors and the Islington Survivors Network on a wide range of issues relating to those who were abused, who we know continue to suffer today.

“The council has already compensated a number of survivors for the abuse they suffered, and will of course continue to compensate survivors in the future. We are currently reviewing the best way of dealing with compensation claims.”

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If you’d like to support Islington Survivors’ Network’s vital advocacy work representing survivors of abuse, visit its Go Fund Me page. ISN is funded entirely by donations.

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