Church of England Redress Scheme

Posted on: 6 mins read
Hywel Thomas Profile Picture
Hywel Thomas

Senior Associate Solicitor, Abuse

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In June of 2023 the Church of England announced plans to launch a redress scheme to compensate and support survivors who had experienced abuse by someone within the Church of England. 

As survivors continue come forward about their experiences of abuse, the Church of England is progressing with a Scheme to help and support these survivors with the abuse they’ve experienced and the effect it’s had on them in later life.

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What We Know About the Scheme So Far

In July 2023, the Scheme was backed by a lot of support from the Synod, who voted in favour of the Church redress scheme. This scheme will provide financial payments to survivors of abuse, as well as emotional, therapeutic and spiritual support, to help survivors, who are trying to rebuild their lives.

Later in the year, in October 2023, the first Abuse Redress Measure draft was published. A month later, in November of the same year, this first draft was approved by the Synod.

By approving this scheme, The Church of England is demonstrating a proactive approach to the issue of abuse. At Simpson Millar, we continue to look out for updates as to the progress of this scheme.

It’s important to note that a lot of the time, people don’t know much about the legal side of claiming compensation for religious abuse. This means that it can feel like an intimidating process, especially with new measures and schemes such as this one.  

That’s why, at Simpson Millar, we aim to make this area of the law as accessible as possible, so that survivors of abuse by someone within Church of England can claim compensation without too much additional stress. That’s why we’re here to act as legal representatives for these survivors, so we can help them through the process of claiming compensation to help cover the abuse and its effects in later life.

While nothing can begin to make up for the trauma and long-lasting effects abuse can have, compensation can help survivors make steps towards moving on with their lives, and possibly even beginning to heal.

 

What will the Scheme Cover?

The Measure adopted by the Synod sets out in more detail how the scheme will work and who will be eligible to apply. In November of 2023, the Synod approved the first draft of the Redress Measure, which made arrangements for a ‘redress body’ to handle a scheme to help and support survivors of abuse.

At this stage we do not have a great deal of detail about how the scheme will work. But, we do know the following:

  • The Scheme will compensate anyone who has experienced sexual, physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual abuse, neglect, and maltreatment.
  • The abuse must have been perpetrated by
    • a person who carried out the abuse had authority to perform a role in the Church of England, or
    • the person who suffered the abuse had reasonable grounds to believe that the person who carried out the abuse had that authority and
    • there was a close connection between activities authorised for performing that role and carrying out the abuse.
  • The Scheme includes abuse that took place outside the UK.
  • There will be a cut off point for applications to be made. The Scheme will run for 5 years from when it starts, though this may be extended.
  • There are no requirements for the abuse to have been reported to the police, the local authority or the church, and no conviction is needed.
  • In addition to the Church of England committing to contribute £150m to the Scheme, other organisations that are within the Church and different church bodies will also contribute.
  • There will be offsetting of previous awards made to an individual, which suggests that if someone has already had an award of compensation from the church, they may receive additional redress under the Scheme.
  • The Scheme will pay an applicant’s legal costs.

 

When will the Scheme Start?

In late 2023, the Synod approved a Measure which allows the Church of England to create a Redress Scheme for survivors of abuse. Now, the Church of England are beginning to take further steps to set this scheme up.

At this stage we do not know when the scheme will go live though the Church has indicated in the past it is aiming for the scheme to start accepting applications by the end of 2024. However, we do not know how realistic a time frame this is.

 

How will the Scheme Work?

While this gives us a good picture of that the Scheme will look like in broad terms, we do not yet have detail which will impact on the eligibility of some applications, what evidence will need to be submitted in support of an application and how much an applicant might expect to recover.

Despite the setting up of the Scheme being in its early stages, we are happy to speak to people who are interested in finding out more about making an application under the Scheme and taking steps so that an application is ready be submitted once the new Scheme is open.

We aim to make claiming compensation as straightforward as possible, which is why we’re here to help you understand what’s happening with your case at all times. Whether this means talking you through how this Scheme works, or explaining which other option may be best for your case right now, we never want you to feel confused.

 

How We Can Help

Please feel free to contact our specialist team of abuse solicitors if you would like to find out more about the Scheme and how we can help.

At Simpson Millar, we can guide you through the options available to you when it comes to your case. From explaining the Scheme to you later down the line, to exploring other ways you can get help and support for the abuse you’ve experienced by someone within the Church of England of England, we’re here to find you a tailored resolution.

We’ll always aim to advise you in a personal way, once we understand your story and your experiences. This way, we’ll be able to work together with you to find the best outcome for you.

Once we’ve agreed on the best way to move forward, we’ll take you through the process of claiming compensation or seeking other types of help and support. We will keep you updated at every step of the journey, so you understand what’s going on with your case and what the next stages are.

We understand that going back through past memories of abuse can be difficult and traumatising. That’s why we’re always here to point you in the right direction when it comes to mental and emotional support to help you deal with these worries and concerns. Whether we help you find a therapist, support group or an organisation or resource to help you cope with the trauma and effects of the abuse and your case, we’ll try our best to make sure you’re emotionally supported while you’re working with us.

We will always aim to stay updated as to what’s going on in this area of the law, so we can talk you through your case and options. That’s why, although we don’t have all the details about this yet, you can still get in touch with us and we can provide tailored and specific legal advice.

If you’re looking to claim compensation for abuse by someone within the Church of England of England, get in touch with our friendly and knowledgeable team today.

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References

The Independent. (n.d.). Church of England takes next step towards redress for abuse victims. Retrieved from https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/church-of-england-b2446986.html

Church of England. (n.d.). Synod approves next steps for national redress scheme. Retrieved from https://www.churchofengland.org/safeguarding/safeguarding-news-releases/synod-approves-next-steps-national-redress-scheme

Hywel Thomas Profile Picture

Hywel Thomas

Senior Associate Solicitor, Abuse

Areas of Expertise:
Abuse Claims

With a background in Personal Injury Claims and Criminal Injury Compensation Claims, Hywel started specialising in Abuse Claims in 2001. Over the years, he has seen the area of abuse law evolve, presenting new challenges and learning opportunities. He has tackled cases against diverse groups, from local authorities to private schools, charities, medical organisations, and even individuals.

His passion for understanding psychological injuries led him to this area of Law.  Hywel's work extends beyond seeking financial compensation for his clients; he focuses on helping victims and survivors access support, making a real difference in their healing process. He values each client's unique motivations, ensuring they achieve what they desire through the legal process.

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