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Lawyers for former child migrants welcome historic decision for redress scheme

Historic decision by the British Government to establish redress scheme for former child migrants welcomed by lawyers

19 December 2018

Lawyers representing former child migrants have said they ‘wholeheartedly welcome’ the decision by the Government to establish a redress scheme for those British citizens who were deported as part of the UK’s child migration programmes. Many of whom suffered physical and sexual abuse as a result of the policy.

The decision to establish a redress scheme was announced by the Home Secretary Sajid Javid, in a written statement made today and follows the threat of legal action against the Government on behalf of former child migrants.

In November 2018, law firm Leigh Day, on behalf of the International Association of Former Child Migrants and their Families, sent a Letter Before Claim to the Department of Health and the Home Office over the UK Government’s failure to respond to the recommendations on former child migrants of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) which were issued in March this year.

On 17 December 2018, Leigh Day wrote again to the Government to notify them of an urgent High Court legal challenge if the Government continued to fail to engage with, or formally respond to, the recommendations in the IICSA report.

The IICSA chaired by Professor Alexis Jay, was damning of successive UK governments over their central role in the child migration policy which it concluded had not ensured sufficient measures were in place to protect children from abuse when sent overseas. It declared post war child migration a “fundamentally flawed policy’’ in its report and a redress scheme was suggested with payments to start within 12 months, which would be by 1 March 2019.

The UK’s child migration policy involved the deportation overseas of thousands of children, many of whom were in care, often without parental consent. The post-war child migration programmes came to an end in 1970.

Alison Millar, Partner at Leigh Day who is representing the International Association of Former Child Migrants and their Families said:

“We wholeheartedly welcome this historic decision by this Government to finally implement a Redress Scheme for those who, as children, were deported from this country through a policy which now seems unbelievable in its callousness and stupidity.

“Many of those British children sent overseas were forcibly separated from their families and were subjected to the most vile sexual, physical and emotional abuse.

“We now urge the Government to consult swiftly with surviving child migrants on the mechanics of the Redress Scheme, to ensure that it is ready to make its first payments by 1 March 2019 to ensure no more former child migrants die before seeing justice”.

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