Photograph: shirleyoaks.com

Photograph: shirleyoaks.com

Some 7,000 vulnerable children aged between just a few months old and 14 passed through Shirley Oaks children's home run by Lambeth Council from the 1950s to the 1980s.

Hundreds of those children were subjected to sexual, mental and physical abuse over that 30-year period by doctors, teachers, priests, sports coaches and other authority figures.

Lambeth Council has now set up a two-part Redress Scheme for people who, as children, were abused or feared being abused at a Lambeth Children’s Home, and/or Shirley Oaks Primary School.

The Scheme will only remain open for applications until 1 January 2020.

Lambeth Council will pay your legal costs if you use a solicitor to assist in making the application.

Lambeth will not raise the issue of limitation while your claim remains within the scheme which would have expired on your 21st birthday, so most claims would be considered out of time and be statute barred.  You would need good evidence to persuade the court to disapply the strict limitation rules.

The Scheme is split into two stages, firstly, the Harm’s Way Payment and secondly, the Individual Redress Payment.

STAGE ONE

HARM’S WAY PAYMENT

You are able to claim a harm’s way payment if you were abused or feared being abused in a Lambeth Children’s Home or at Shirley Oaks Primary School.  The abuse may have been sexual abuse, other physical abuse, ill treatment, neglect or psychological abuse. 

Under this stage of the scheme, successful applicants will receive a payment of up to £10,000.00 depending on the length of time spent at the home and/or school

(i)                  More than 6 months                     = £10,000.00

(ii)                Between 3 and 6 months              = £5,000.00

(iii)               Between 1 week and 3 months = £2,500.00

(iv)               Less than 1 week                             = £1,000.00

If you were in a specialist unit then the award is £10,000.00 regardless of how long you were there.

No medical examination is required for this stage of the scheme.  You, or your solicitor will need to fill in an application form describing what abuse you experienced or why you feared you would be abused.  This is then submitted to the Lambeth Redress Scheme to be processed.

Lambeth will firstly verify your time in care, to ensure you meet the criteria for the scheme and make the appropriate award depending on the length of time you spent in one of their children’s homes or Shirley Oakes School.  The time frame for this stage of the scheme depends on a number of factors, including how well resourced Lambeth are at the time your claim is submitted to them.  We will aim to lodge your claim with Lambeth as quickly as possible after taking your instructions.  Lambeth should respond with a decision within 30 days, although sometimes they do take longer than this.

If did not experience any physical, sexual or emotional abuse first hand, just fearing it may happen then it is likely the Harm’s Way Payment will be the only stage of the process suitable for you. 

If you were sexually abused, suffered physical or psychological abuse first hand then, depending in the severity of abuse suffered,  it may be appropriate for you to progress to the second stage of the Lambeth Redress Scheme, the Individual Redress Payment.

STAGE TWO

INDIVIDUAL REDRESS PAYMENT

This is a payment that can be made to you if you were resident at a Lambeth Children’s Home and/or Shirley Oaks Primary School and you suffered sexual abuse, and/or physical abuse, and/or psychological injury.

This part of the scheme is assessed by using a tariff according to the severity of the abuse you suffered and the harm it caused you.  In order to establish the extent of the harm caused, under this stage of the scheme you will need to see a Consultant Psychiatrist who will meet with you and prepare a report detailing the abuse suffered and the effects this has had on your life to date and into the future.

If you received a Harm’s Way Payment and continue onto the Individual Redress part of the scheme then the payment made under the Harm’s Way part of the scheme is viewed as an interim payment on account of compensation generally and will be taken into account when assessing the value of your final compensation payment.  For example, if the full value of your claim is assessed at £20,000.00 and you received a Harm’s Way Payment of £10,000.00 then you would receive an additional £10,000.00 to bring you up to the value of your claim. 

It is possible at the lower end of the scheme that the Individual Redress Payment would provide no further compensation if your claim is valued at the same level or less than the Harm’s Way Payment you received.  If we deal with your claim on your behalf we will advise you in this regard at the appropriate stage.

If you think you would be eligible to lodge a claim under the scheme and would like legal assistance, please contact us to help.