The Redress for Survivors (Historical Child Abuse in Care) (Scotland) Act 2021

This article first appeared in the Spring edition of stronger, ALARM’s member journal, April 2021. ALARM is a not-for-profit membership association that has supported risk management professionals for 30 years. They provide members with outstanding support including training, guidance and best practice, networking and industry recognition for excellence across risk management. For more information, visit

On 13 August 2020 the Redress for Survivors (Historical Child Abuse in Care) (Scotland) Bill (the Bill) was published. Scottish Parliament voted unanimously to pass the Bill on 11 March 2021.

The Redress Scheme is available for survivors of historical child abuse which took place before 1 December 2004 in relevant care settings in Scotland. This includes sexual, physical and emotional abuse or abuse which takes the form of neglect.

The Scottish scheme and a similar Australian redress scheme illustrate how organisations (including charities) are under pressure by governments, policymakers and society to take responsibility and accountability for historic child abuse. As redress schemes develop and expand, failing to ‘opt-in’ may result in reputational damage, naming and shaming by governments for non-compliance, and financial sanctions for failing to engage.