Survivors’ fear: ‘We will die before we get compensation’

The Royal Commission on Abuse in Care next week delivers its much-delayed final report. But an earlier report, filed in December 2021, said abuse survivors needed an independent payment scheme urgently. So why hasn’t it happened?

Mike Ledingham turned 74 last week, and survived an aneurysm last year. He hopes to live long enough to finally receive compensation for the abuse he suffered at the hands of a Catholic priest as an 8-year-old – but he’s not confident.

“We’re not very happy. Although I’m not planning on dying [soon], I might not see anything. If I don’t see any money, so be it. But I think we deserve it, all those who spoke up especially. And I think they [the Government] know that.”

It’s 30 months since the Royal Commission on Abuse in Care said an independent redress scheme for survivors of abuse in state and religious care should be immediately stood up. The Labour government agreed, and said one would be operating by mid-2023. Survivors hoped that would mean proper compensation payments and counselling services.

But now both major parties say survivors must wait until the commission’s final report – being handed over later this month – is considered before anything happens.

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