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UK News

Landmark decision by Archbishop to increase compensation for victims of sex abuse

by Premier Journalist

There's been a landmark decision to increase compensation to victims of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy despite the cases being closed.

According to The Telegraph the Archbishop of Birmingham has tripled a payout to £15,000 for a victim of child sex abuse from the 1970s at the hands of Father John Tolkein son of author J.R.R. Tolkein.

Another survivor has also had their compensation increased.

The Archdiocese of Birmingham made the decision to reopen closed financial settlements with two abuse victims, a year after it was criticised by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) for its handling of cases.

Richard Scorer, a specialist lawyer on abuse at Slater and Gordon told the paper it was the first time in 25 years of handling cases involving the Catholic Church that it increased the financial reparations for a victim after a case had been settled.

Mr Scorer said: "They have held their hands up and recognized their conduct was wrong. It may well pave the way for other survivors to seek further compensation."

The report into historic abuse in the archdiocese of Birmingham found that more than 130 allegations of child sexual abuse were made against 78 individuals over the past 75 years. Of those, Fr Tolkien, who died in 2003, was among the most serious offenders.

A second survivor, Eamonn Flanagan, also received a second financial settlement from the archdiocese. He was abused for a decade by Father Samuel Penny.

He said: "I cried when I read the letter from Archbishop Longley."

A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Birmingham said the Archbishop seeks a "listening response to victims and survivors.

If that intention is ever recognised by a victim/survivor then that is a most generous, unmerited, act on their part."

"The door is open for all victims/survivors to meet Archbishop Bernard Longley to talk about their experiences if they wish to do so."

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