Pitcairn abuse victims can claim UK compensation

Victims of child sex abuse on Pitcairn Island will be able to apply for compensation, the Foreign Office said today.

The abuse was revealed in 1999 and eight men were later convicted during a trail on the British overseas territory in the Pacific Ocean.



Announcing the compensation scheme, Foreign Office Minister Gillian Merron said: "We are working closely with the UK's Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority to ensure the levels of compensation are linked to the amounts awarded in the UK.



"What happened to these women was terrible and no amount of money will take that pain away. But I hope this will give them some recognition of their suffering.



"This is a significant step and it is the right thing to do."



Pitcairn is a volcanic island in the South Pacific around 3,300 miles from New Zealand.



It has a population of around 50 - most of whom are descendants of the mutineers from the Royal Navy ship the Bounty.



The abuse investigation, named Operation Unique, began after allegations were made to a visiting police officer in 1999.



The probe revealed widespread child sex abuse over many years and resulted in 96 charges being laid against 17 men, both on and off the island.



Eight men were eventually convicted of a variety of sexual offences against children. Six received prison terms and two were given community sentences.



Just one remains in Pitcairn prison and he will be eligible for home detention from early December.



The rest have finished their sentences, been released on licence, or granted home detention.

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