Two survivors of abuse in Islington kids’ homes have died during coronavirus pandemic – with no compensation

Islington child abuse scandal at Care Homes in the 1970's and 80's. Dr Liz Davies

Islington child abuse scandal at Care Homes in the 1970's and 80's. Dr Liz Davies - Credit: Archant

At least two survivors of historic abuse in Islington’s children’s homes have died during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Islington Survivors Networks (ISN) has told the council to urgently deliver the redress scheme it first called for in September 2017 – before any more survivors die without compensation.

In September 2017 Islington Council apologised to ISN, whose members were among potentially thousands abused physically and sexually by paedophiles in borough-run care homes between the 1970s and 1990s.

At the time the council said, alongside a redress scheme, it would offer survivors access to psychological support and help with housing and benefits.

As of August last year, £2.1million had been paid out in compensation to survivors who made individual claims, that figure had not increased since before 2017.

The Gazette has asked Islington Council if any more claims have been paid out since.

Liz Davies, the whistleblower who exposed the devastating scale of abuse in 1992 through the Evening Standard, told the Gazette: “During the time of the virus two more survivors have died, and it’s not known if the deaths were connected to the virus or not.

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“I think they would more feature in the list of people who died as a side effect of the virus.”

She added: “The lockdown shouldn’t be any more excuse for any more prevarication from the council. Why aren’t they settling more of these cases? They’ve been around for years and it has caused so much distress. Imagine if you’re a survivor battling for some measly redress being asked to do more and more high jumps. The onus is all on us to prove everything, it shouldn’t be like that at this stage.”

Lambeth Council launched a redress scheme in 2018 for survivors of abuse at kids’ homes in the borough and has paid out more than £30m.

Liz says this is a precedent for how reparations can be delivered quickly.

Cllr Watts said: “I think that’s clearly very tragic if survivors have passed away in the current crisis.

“The position remains: we are working hard on a scheme. The scheme Islington must need to pursue is legally unique, and therefore is incredibly complicated getting the various legal and other sign offs we need to pursue it.

“And I appreciate the frustration. I’m frustrated by how long it’s taken and I completely appreciate the survivors frustration as well.”