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Survivors of abuse in Islington children’s homes may sue Town Hall for compensation

Survivor's network look for a compensation scheme similar to Lambeth

03 August, 2018 — By Emily Finch

Dr Liz Davies who first exposed the widespread abuse in Islington children’s homes

 

SURVIVORS of historic abuse at the borough’s children’s homes may bring a group action claim against the Town Hall in a bid to get compensation.

Dr Liz Davies, from Islington Survivors Network (ISN), said that around 140 people had now come forward who were subjected to abuse at council-run institutions from the 1960s to 1990s.

Dr Davies, a former Islington social worker and whistleblower who first exposed the widespread abuse in the borough, is now co- ordinating the survivors’ group. She said “time is running out” for a lot of survivors, who are suffering from ill health.

“We’ve got a meeting with the council in a couple of weeks and the stakes are getting higher. We don’t want to let anybody down if they say no [to compensation],” she said.

Last October, Town Hall leader Councillor Richard Watts admitted at a heated meeting with survivors of abuse that the council were “desperately sorry” and “culpable” for past systematic failings when it came to protecting children.

He repeated this week that the council is “currently reviewing the best way of dealing with compensation claims”. But Islington Survivors Network is now seeking support for a fresh legal review of the potential for a group action case. Dr Davies ultimately hopes to achieve a redress scheme similar to the one Lambeth has introduced.

The south London borough saw hundreds of children abused in care homes in the 1980s and 1990s. Lambeth Council will compensate those who were harmed in the homes and is assessing redress claims made by 466 people. Those who were placed in harm’s way by being placed in the homes can also apply for compensation under a separate scheme. Lambeth announced in December that it has put aside £100million to compensate survivors.

Dr Davies said of the survivors in Islington: “They have suffered so much and for so long and they need justice before it’s too late, three having died since we’ve started.”

A Freedom of Information request made by supporters of ISN

revealed that the council had given out £1,184,992 between 1997 and February this year to survivors of abuse in children’s homes. The compensation averaged just over £30,000 per person.

Law firm Leigh Day is working with the group, who need to raise £3,000 to employ a leading barrister to take on their case. They have already raised half of that through a crowdfunding website but are still seeking donations until August 16.

To donate, go tohttps://www.crowdjustice.com/case/islingtonsurvivorsnetwork/

The council has urged survivors to email survivorsupport@islington.gov.uk for information on the support offered.

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