Edinburgh council pays out more than £2 million to historic child abuse victims

13 out of 71 claims over the last 50 years have been settled
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Edinburgh City Council has paid out more than £2 million to victims of historic child abuse, it has been revealed. 

So far 13 claims from people who suffered at the hands of council workers over the last 50 years have been settled, out of a total 71 who sought compensation. 

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Scottish Government legislation passed in 2017 scrapped rules which meant victims had to file a claim within three years of being abused, allowing incidents dating back to 1964 to be considered. 

Submitting a question to officers ahead of this week’s full council meeting independent councillor Ross McKenzie asked for the total cost of such claims settled by the authority, which an answer confirmed was £2,197,618. 

A further £1.2m has been spent by the council on legal fees associated with the claims. 

Edinburgh City Council has paid out more than £2 million to victims of historic child abuse, it has been revealedEdinburgh City Council has paid out more than £2 million to victims of historic child abuse, it has been revealed
Edinburgh City Council has paid out more than £2 million to victims of historic child abuse, it has been revealed

The remaining 58 cases “are either closed or going through the claims process,” officers said, adding they were unable to give an estimate of the cost of additional payouts still being considered. 

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The answer provided by officials added: “Some of the claims received may be on behalf of former Council structures (e.g. the City of Edinburgh Council is the successor Authority to the former Lothian Regional Council and former Edinburgh District Council) with varying levels of insurance coverage.”

Cllr McKenzie also asked how much to date had been paid out to victims of former social worker Sean Bell, who died in 2020 awaiting trial for allegations of sexual and psychological abuse.

So far four victims have received a share of £461,250 through a redress scheme set up in 2022 which received seven claims in total.

“The council met these costs in full, without settlement contributions from insurance providers,” the answer said.

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“The Redress Scheme ran from 5 September 2022 until 4 March 2023 and is now closed. It is therefore not anticipated that there will be further costs to settle outstanding claims.

“The total external legal costs were £64,980.60. Internal legal costs concerning the redress scheme are included with other costs associated with the earlier independent inquiry and finance resource will require to be assigned to provide an accurate figure concerning internal costs.”

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