Survivors of institutional child abuse are being forced to "jump through hoops" to receive government compensation, according to a campaigner.

Chris Daly, who spent time in a children's home run by the Sisters of Nazareth Catholic order, said the scheme was overly bureaucratic with little support offered to claimants.

He said a shortage of case workers was also leading to pursuers facing long delays.

Applications for the Scottish Government's Redress Scheme opened in December.

Those eligible can apply to request an apology and payments ranging from £10,000 up to £100,000. 

A number of institutions are contributing financially to the scheme including; Barnardo's, The Sisters of Nazareth and NHS Scotland boards.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said earlier this year that the government had not anticipated the volume of applications it had received and was recruiting additional case workers.

Mr Daly, who is assisting five survivors with claims as well as pursuing his own, said the government should have been better prepared given that a pilot scheme was launched in 2019.

He said:  "An advance payment scheme was set up for elderly people and those who are terminally ill and rightly so.


"That was seen as a pilot, it opened in April 2019 and closed the day the proper scheme opened.

"You would think that any issues would have been ironed out.

"It's very complex.

"If you are looking for a higher amount [than £10,000], you really are having to jump through hoops.

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"Applicants must obtain proof that they were resident in an institution, which involves a subject access request to the organisation or local authority or health board asking them to release personal records.

"Many people don't know what that is and are struggling to navigate the system."

He said none of the five applications he was assisting on had been assigned a case worker months after submitting all the relevant documents.

"The timescale was supposed to be something like eight weeks," said Mr Daly, 58, who set up In Care Abuse Survivors and lives in Bridge of Allan.

"The cases can't progress to the decision makers until a case worker has been allocated. "

"The communication with applicants has been really poor."

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He said the system for submitting documents electronically was "full of glitches" and said his own claim had been delayed because his case worker left the scheme.

In response, the Scottish Government said it had made changes to the system to allow applications to progress before a case worker is allocated and said it was increasing the support offered to claimants.

Mr Daly provided evidence at the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry, which is currently hearing evidence relating to the abuse of children in foster care.

Last September, the Scottish Government apologised "unreservedly" for what was described as a "woeful and wholly avoidable" 13-year delay in setting up the public inquiry.

Lady Anne Smith, who is charing the inquiry, said the government "failed to grasp" the survivors' need for justice.

Mr Daly said he was placed in children's homes from the age of four or five with time also spent in residential schools.

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He told the inquiry that children at Nazareth House in Aberdeen were beaten during the night if they wet the bed and were made to feel worthless by the nuns.

In his witness statement he recalled being locked in a mortuary for elderly nuns who had died as a punishment.

Mr Daly praised the Irish government for swift action to compensate survivors after former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern's apology in 1999. 

"By 2002, there was the Residential Institutions Redress Act," he said.

"Lady Smith said there was a marked lack of urgency [in Scotland] and that justice delayed was justice denied because in the time period of 20 years or so many survivors had died without seeing justice.

"So when you consider that the Irish government could turn that around within a couple of years. It's a failure of different administrations."

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said: "Whilst priority is given to applicants with a terminal illness and those over 68 years of age, changes are being made to increase contact and support to all applicants.

“Initial contact with an applicant takes place within six weeks of application receipt.

"In response to feedback received, the operating model has been altered to ensure that applications can be progressed from this point prior to applicants having a caseworker allocated.

"In response to a higher than anticipated number of incomplete applications received recruitment of additional caseworkers is underway to further improve the experiences of those engaging with the scheme. 

“Support is available to applicants at each stage of the process, and feedback on their experiences encouraged, to ensure that the Scheme remains robust and credible and operates efficiently with survivors at the heart at all times.”