UK child migrants sent to Australia sue government over abuse

A teacher reads to a group of children in Stevenage who are about to be sent to the Fairbridge school in MolongImage copyright
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A group of children from a school in Stevenage were among those to be sent to the Fairbridge school in Molong, Australia

More than 100 Britons who were forcibly sent abroad as children under a resettlement scheme are suing the UK government over the abuse they faced.

The Independent Inquiry Into Child Sex Abuse has said survivors should receive financial compensation within a year.

But the British government has failed to set up any scheme providing redress.

Between 1945-70, thousands of deprived children were separated from their families in the UK and sent to colonies including Australia and Zimbabwe.

About 4,000 children – as young as three years old – were sent across the British Empire to have better lives, and strengthen the British population abroad.

John Glynn, who was sent to a Christian Brothers institution in Western Australia when he was eight years old, is one of the 100 former migrants to bring the case forward.

“As I get older it gets worse,” he says.

“I think about that a lot now. They took my childhood from me. They took my country from me, my heritage.”

According to the Independent Inquiry Into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA) investigation last year, many suffered sexual and emotional abuse, as well as forced labour. Some were also wrongly told they were orphans, depriving them of the opportunity of meeting their birth parents.

Despite IICSA’s recommendation in March, the British government has failed to set up a compensation scheme for the surviving 2,000 child migrants.

Since March, 14 of the survivors have died.

The UK’s Department of Health and Social Care said it was still committed to a timely response.

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