The charity Voice4Change England and Black Thrive, a local grassroots partnership, have been appointed by Lambeth Council to support the Black community’s access to a financial redress scheme to compensate victims of child abuse whilst in care.
Voice4Change England and Black Thrive have been appointed by Lambeth Council to support the Black community to access a financial redress scheme to compensate victims of child abuse, or who were at risk, whilst in care at Lambeth Children’s Home and Shirley Oaks Primary School. The two charities are working to ensure that everyone is compensated, particularly people of Black African and Caribbean heritage, currently underrepresented amongst those who have claimed redress. The Lambeth Children’s Homes Redress Scheme has been extended to the new closing date of 5pm on 1 January 2022.
In January 2018, Lambeth Council launched the Lambeth Children’s Homes Redress Scheme, a first of its kind in the United Kingdom. It aims to support individuals who were abused or were at risk of being abused at Shirley Oaks and other Lambeth Children’s Homes to deal with the consequences through financial means, free support services and amends.
Since the launch of the scheme, more than 1,602 people have applied, and over £46.4 million has been paid out in compensation. However, the council noticed that people with Black African and Caribbean backgrounds, who are eligible, have not come forward to claim their compensation. The barriers could range from unclarity of information on how to apply, concerns about how Redress could impact other support claims and put personal information at risk, fear of re-traumatisation, and other factors that are preventing people from coming forward and making their application.
The charities Voice4Change England and Black Thrive have now been appointed to support the Council for a last push ensure more people from Black Communities access the scheme. The new microsite launch on 24 June provides easier access for people to apply for redress, clarifying any concerns and addressing barriers people may have when applying. Kunle Olulode, Director of Voice4Change England, the national voice for the black and minority ethnic third sector says:
“Recent events and the global focus on Black Lives Matter shows us that systemic racism and inequality for Black people is still a persisting issue both
abroad and in the UK. The underrepresentation of Black people accessing this redress scheme is more than likely to be the result of structural barriers and lack of proactive action to engage with the community. We must do better and ensure that everyone receives the compensation they are entitled to.”
Natalie Creary, Director of Black Thrive, a mental health initiative set up to address institutional racism in Lambeth, says:
“Many victims and survivors of the abuses that happened between the 1930s to 1990s may no longer live in Lambeth. Whilst we at Black Thrive have experience engaging communities across Lambeth and will use our expansive network to get the word out locally, we need to do much, much more. We must ensure any survivors who are no longer in the borough, who may have fallen under the radar of care and support services, and who may have limited access to digital media are reached and encouraged to come forward.”
The charities plan to get the word out across Black-led media outlets and community networks, child sexual abuse survivors organisations, Mental Health practitioners and provers and other care services. They will also enlist the help of the criminal justice system, religious and spiritual leaders. British novelist Alex Wheatle MBE is championing the campaign.
Whilst face-to-face meetings have been suspended during the pandemic, applications are still being processed and medical assessments are offered via video link. Non-financial advisory services are still open where possible, and people may also be able to receive interim payments if they require access to funds during this difficult time. Access the microsite at: https://lambethredress.co.uk/.