Victims of child abuse at Jersey care homes are to be offered up to £60,000 compensation from the States.
More than 100 former care home residents will be able to make claims, with the level of payout dependent on the nature of the offences.
Carrie Modral, from the Jersey Care Leavers Association, said it was a long time coming.
She said: “A lot of the survivors are living on the poverty line so it will be a huge boost to help with debts. But for some people it’s just not enough for the abuse that they suffered.”
Jersey’s Chief Minister, Senator Ian Gorst, said: “Whilst we recognise nothing in some ways can compensate for that abuse, we as ministers feel this financial recompense is appropriate at this time.”
Senator Gorst said he hoped to launch a public enquiry into historical abuse in the island. “I hope to be in a position to launch a public enquiry for the States assembly to debate within the next month to six weeks. The Council of Ministers wants to ensure claimants are dealt with fairly and sensitively,” the Sentator added.
The scheme will be open to anyone who was in a Jersey care home between 9 May 1945 and 31 December 1994.
People making a claim will give their details to law firm Mourant Ozannes who will then assess each case. Advocate Beverley Lacey from Jersey law firm Mourant Ozannes said they were not expecting more than 100 claims.
Alan Collins from the UK law firm Pannone, which is representing 43 victims, said this was about justice rather than compensation. “The victims have been driven by a need for recognition. Many of them had been placed at Haut de la Garenne – and other homes in Jersey – through no fault of their own and often because of tragic family circumstances, only to endure often harsh conditions, deliberate cruelty and sexual abuse. Those who were supposedly caring for them either abused or were complicit.”
All claims need to be into Mourant Ozannes by 30 September 2012.
An inquiry into historical abuse at Jersey’s children’s homes ran between 2007 and 2010. (extract taken from www.bbc.co.uk/news)