The following is a version of a statement published by The Child Migrants Trust, which is available online here.
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) Interim Report and its report on Child Migration Programmes has recommended that the UK Government establish a financial redress scheme for surviving former British child migrants on the basis that they were exposed to the risk of sexual abuse.
On 19th December the UK Government published its response to the IISCA Inquiry, which is that the UK Government would establish an ex-gratia payment scheme for former British child migrants, in recognition of the fundamentally flawed nature of the historic child migration policy.
This note provides further detail of the payment scheme.
The payment is being made in recognition of the exceptional and specific nature of the historic Child Migration Policy. It is payable to all former British child migrants, regardless of whether they suffered abuse, in recognition of the fundamentally flawed nature of the historic Child Migration Programmes and in line with the recommendation in IICSA’s report.
The scheme is open to any former British child migrant who was alive on 1 March 2018, or the beneficiaries of any former child migrant who was alive on 1 March 2018 and has since passed away.
The ex-gratia payment will be payable to all applicants regardless of their individual circumstances, including the receipt of payments received from other Governments or through private legal action.
The claimant must have been a child migrant sent from the United Kingdom and Crown Dependencies (England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man).
In addition, the claimant must have been sent by a church, state, voluntary or other organisation to one of the receiving countries (Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Zimbabwe/former Rhodesia) and must not have been accompanied by an adult family member, or sent to live with a member of their birth family.
Each eligible former child migrant will receive a payment of GBP £20,000 (AUD$36,000).
All applications will be handled by the Child Migrants Trust, who will support applicants in establishing their identity as former British child migrants, which will be necessary in order to receive a payment.
All payments will be administered by the NHS Business Services Authority. Only that information required to confirm the status and identity of the former child migrant and to make a payment will be required and personal information will be managed in line with the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation
The Child Migrants Trust’s information about former child migrants, gained in their work with individual former child migrants to establish their identity for the purposes of confirming their nationality, to make use of the Family Restoration Fund, to access other countries’ redress schemes or for other statutory purpose will form the basis of proof of their eligibility for payment.
Further details will be provided in the application form, in due course.
Further details will be provided when the scheme opens for applications. In the meantime, examples of the types of accepted documentation can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/proof-of-identity-checklist/proof-of-identity-checklist
We will not take into account any payments that a former child migrant may have received from any other scheme, or private claim, in any country.
The ex-gratia payment scheme will cover the whole of the UK, regardless of the UK nation from which the former child migrant was sent.
The Child Migrants Trust will start accepting applications from 1 March 2019 and the formal scheme will remain open for two years from its launch. Later claims will be considered on a case by case basis and a late claim will not affect eligibility for or the amount of the payment.
The Inquiry reports correctly stated that “post-War child migration was a fundamentally flawed policy”. The Government has long acknowledged and accepted that assessment at the time of the national apology in 2010 and in fact went further, calling it a “shameful episode of history and this failure in the first duty of a nation, which is to protect its children”. Since the experiences of child migrants were first identified by Margaret Humphreys in the 1980s, and following the report by the Health Select Committee in 1998, the Government has accepted that there was never a place for child migration in the way the nation cares for its children.
If you need advice about the Payment Scheme, please contact your nearest Child Migrants Trust office. Contact details can be found here