Survivors Join up to Fight for Cash Support

The National
July 10, 2015

TWO survivors have joined forces to found a new organisation to campaign for reparations for those who have been abused as children.

Andi Lavery and Chris Daly, both survivors of abuse as young boys, have established White Flowers Alba, which signifies the flourishing of hope and became a symbol of the Jacobite cause.

White roses were also worn by SNP MPs on the day of the Queen’s Speech in May.

White Flowers Alba joins the existing survivor groups In Care Abuse Survivors (Incas), and Former Boys and Girls Abused in Quarriers Homes. The organisation already has dozens of members and has secured legal representation from one of Scotland’s leading law firms, Beltrami & Company.

The group supports the recently announced inquiry into historical abuse of children in care but is demanding that ministers make interim compensation payments to victims.

It says many victims have died in the 15 years it took for the inquiry to be set up, and fear many others will pass away before the independent inquiry into the scandal has been completed.

White Flowers Alba is urging the Scottish Government to agree reparation awards swiftly in recognition of the harm victims have suffered which has led to many experiencing damaged lives.

Lavery called on ministers to follow a model established in Ireland which set up an interim reparation scheme.

“The money in Ireland was to give survivors some form of social and educational support. They could spend it as they wanted, help them buy a car or have a holiday or invest in a business. That is what we believe should be in place in Scotland,” he said.

“We need care and redress as substantive elements of the inquiry. All this nonsense about being listened to. We are sick of telling our stories, we need to bust the sound barrier on this and push ahead and get something back for our lives.

“We do need urgent financial support in the interim in order to get on with our lives. For me being a survivor it’s not a badge of honour, it’s a hellish existence. There is a massive suicide rate among survivors. Attempts at taking their own lives is a very real issue for many who feel their calls for help have fallen on deaf ears.”

Daly added that survivors could also use the money to get specialist trauma counselling to redress complex psychological problems many victims still experienced.

Announcing the setting up of the inquiry in May, Education Secretary Angela Constance said ?13.5 million would be allocated over the next five years for a support fund for survivors of abuse, with a further ?1m for all victims of abuse through the SurvivorScotland programme.

However, it is unclear whether any of this money would go directly to survivors under a reparation fund. It is understood the issue is still being consulted on by ministers with survivor groups.

A public inquiry into historic child abuse in Scotland is being headed by leading QC Susan O’Brien, who began preparing groundwork for the hearings last week.

She is expected to begin taking evidence at the beginning of October but the inquiry could take up to five years before it is completed.

Andi Lavery and Chris Daly were abused in very different settings, but are fighting together to get justice for all victims.

Lavery, 43, was a pupil at the private Catholic boys boarding school, Fort Augustus Abbey School in the Highlands, during the 1980s. His complaint to the police sparked a police inquiry.

Daly, 50, spent part of his childhood in Nazareth House in Aberdeen and was the first abuse survivor to petition the Scottish Parliament for a inquiry back in 2002.

He also appeared several times before the Public Petitions Committee with fellow survivor Helen Holland. Their actions provoked former Labour First Minister Jack McConnell to make an unprecedented apology in the Holyrood chamber over the scandal in 2004.

McConnell made a “full and unreserved” apology on behalf of the people of Scotland in a statement to MSPs.

An investigation later ordered by McConnell estimated that about 1,000 children were abused in Scotland’s carehomes between 1950 and 1995.








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