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Recommendations - Child Migration Programmes investigation report

These recommendations were made in the Child Migration Programmes investigation report.

Apologies to former child migrants

Recommendation

The Chair and Panel have recommended that institutions involved in the child migration programmes who have not apologised for their role should give such apologies as soon as possible. Apologies should not only be made through public statements but specifically to those child migrants for whose migration they were responsible.

Responses

On the 30 January 2020, Barnardos stated that it has issued a public apology for the part it played in Child Migration, recognising the serious damage done to child migrants, and has made that apology public on its website. Barnardos also has contact with the British Home Children Association and Barnardos Australia, both of which have contact with child migrants. 

On 16 January 2020, Action for Children stated that a public apology was placed on its website in 2018 for the involvement of the National Children’s Home in the migration of children. Futhermore, a written apology was provided directly on 13 July 2018 to one former child migrant who had complained to Action for Children about his experience of sexual abuse.  

On 7 February 2020, the Catholic Church in England and Wales issued an apology to all of those who were involved in the British Government's migration programmes as children, and expressed its sincere regret for their suffering as children, including in many cases as a result of child sexual abuse.

On 10 February 2020, Father Hudson’s Care stated that it has tried to contact those former child migrants for whom it had contact details, so an apology could be made personally to them. As some contact details were out of date, Father Hudson’s Care did not succeed in reaching as many former migrants as they would have wished to, but it remains committed to extending that apology as the opportunity arises. An apology was also published in the Annual Review of 2017-2018 and was made available on Father Hudson’s Care website.

On 11 February 2020, the Children’s Society stated that this recommendation was discussed within the sub-committee of the Board of Trustees. The Committee agreed that the most sensitive action would be to make the Children’s Society’s apology public and accessible and to follow the Society’s agreed policy of issuing individualised apologies to anyone who contacted the Children’s Society directly. It was also decided by the Committee that taking an approach of proactively trying to track down child migrants to enact individual apologies would be acting outside of the permission of individuals and could result in making decisions on behalf of people who do not want to be contacted.

The Royal Over-Seas League issued a statement following the release of the Inquiry’s report. The statement expressed deep regrets and apologies for the organisation’s support of government initiatives from the 1920’s onwards relating to child migration and condemns unreservedly the abuse and ill treatment of children.

The Child Migration Programme investigation report referred to the apology given in 2004 by the Salvation Army in Australia to former residents who had been subjected to any form of abuse. This was reiterated in 2009 by the Salvation Army UK, with deep regret for “any part we may have played in causing…child migrants to have suffered abuse and neglect thousands of miles from home”.  

The Church of England issued a public apology to former child migrants and their families following the close of the Inquiry’s hearings into Child Migration Programmes. The Church of England said that it was truly sorry for any hurt and abuse suffered by any child who was sent abroad by the Church of England as part of these programmes. The Church also stated that it will always listen in confidence to anyone who comes forward to share their story. 

In January 2005, the Sisters of Nazareth gave an apology to former child migrants, which was repeated during the organisation’s testimony before the Inquiry.

Superior General Brenda has travelled to Australia and visited all the locations where child migrants were sent by the Order, whether Nazareth children’s homes or homes run by other organisations. During that trip she met with a number of child migrants personally and offered them apologies on behalf of the Order.

Financial redress for former child migrants

Recommendation

The Chair and Panel have recommended that the UK Government establishes a financial redress scheme for surviving former child migrants, providing for an equal award to every applicant. This is on the basis that they were all were exposed to the risk of sexual abuse.

Responses

On 22 July 2019, the UK Government stated that the Department of Health and Social Care had made over 1,400 payments to eligible former British child migrants under the ex-gratia payment scheme. Payments are expected to conclude by April 2020.

Access to records for former child migrants

Recommendation

The Chair and Panel have recommended that all institutions which sent children abroad as part of the child migration programmes should ensure that they have robust systems in place for retaining and preserving any remaining records that may contain information about individual child migrants, and should provide easy access to them.

Responses

On the 30 January 2020, Barnardos stated that it continues to invest in and maintain the Making Connections Service which manages child records. In addition, Barnardos has started the process of dealing with over 1,000 boxes of archive material to further improve the cataloguing, storage and search capability of the records that it holds. 

On 16 January 2020, Action for Children stated the Access to Records service continues to be in place and continues to be provided free of charge. The Access to Records service is advertised on its website and links to advice provided about support for children formerly in the care of Action for Children or the National Children’s Home, and to the public apology and statement issued in 2018. 

On 7 February 2020, the Catholic Church in England and Wales stated that it remains committed to the secure retention of the individual child migrant records collated by the Australian Child Migrant Project for the purposes of providing migrants and their family, with information about their background. These records are held by the Catholic Children’s Society Westminster. 

On 10 February 2020, Father Hudson’s Care stated that it places great value on its historic child care records and provides a trained specialist social worker to ensure that access to records is provided promptly, efficiently and sensitively. 

On 11 February 2020, the Children’s Society stated that it has a Records and Archive service which contains a series of documents of children's cases relating to a proportion of the children's homes formerly managed by the organisation, together with records relating to child care and some policy files relating to areas such as child migration to Australia. The archive service provides access to case file records that completes enquiries from child migrants who request copies of their records and seek to discover information about their birth families. 

On 3 March 2020, the Sisters of Nazareth stated that the Order’s archives were re-opened in January 2020, allowing for quick and thorough access to the documentation held. Access to the Order’s archive can be arranged directly with the archivist and via the Order’s website.

Recommendations process

You can find out about our process for monitoring responses by visiting our web page.

Child Migrants investigation report

View the Inquiry's Child migration programmes investigation report in its entirety.

 

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