Historical Child Abuse Documents destroyed at Scottish sex abuse care homes

In Scotland Today Residential Orginizations that housed children as orphans or simply because the parents couldnt cope or was unwell  has now started loosing the records i say this because since  all the child abuse inquiries started throughout the uk many orginizations have apoligized for this abuse and many Survivors and victims of historical child abuse  have been told we dont have your records. I wonder what the scottish goverment are going to do with this right or wrong survivors hold on to these memories and these records are proof  they was actually at the establishment when serious sexal abuse took place or other types of abuse.

Lawyer criticises child abuse inquiry for not safeguarding evidence England.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/mar/02/lawyer-criticises-child-abuse-inquiry-safeguarding-evidence-catholic-lambeth-council-boston-globe

 

 

http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2014/05/3052/13

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/homenews/15442377.Revealed__Documents_destroyed_at_Scottish_sex_abuse_care_home_where_teen_girls_were_abused/

Peter Swindon Group Investigations Writer

RECORDS from a children’s residential home in Edinburgh where children were sexually abused were destroyed by the city council despite strict regulations which stipulate that files must be retained for 100 years.

St Katharine’s was supposed to be a refuge for traumatised young girls but council carer Gordon Collins took advantage of his position of trust to groom, molest and rape teenagers between 1995 and 2006.

Another member of staff who worked there was jailed in 2008 for possessing 239 pictures and 70 video clips of children being abused. Around 30 of the images owned by Kevin Glancy showed the most extreme level of abuse, level five.

 

One former resident who was at St Katharine’s secure unit for a year in the late 1990s – when Glancy worked there – has revealed that on her first night “aggressive” male members of staff tried to strip-search her and she heard screams for help from other residents in nearby rooms. Last month she submitted a Freedom of Information request to obtain copies of records relating to her time in care but was told the files were “destroyed” due to an “administrative error”. The woman who is now in her 30s fears a “cover up” and called on the City of Edinburgh Council to reveal how many records were shredded. Her call for transparency has been backed by organisations that support survivors of child abuse.

St Katharine’s is one of eight local authority establishments under investigation by the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry. The inquiry is also looking into eight institutions run by religious orders, six boarding schools and four charities including Barnardo’s and Quarriers.

In response to the former St Katharine’s resident’s Freedom of Information (FOI) request an Information Rights Officer said: “I am afraid that upon searching for your information it became apparent that historic information relating to your time at St Katharine’s Unit has been destroyed”.

The Information Rights Officer noted in the letter that it is “normal practice to keep information relating to children in care for a period of 100 years” and blamed an “administrative error” for the failure to retain files. The council worker “profusely apologised” and pledged that the local authority’s Records Management team would carry out a review.

 

The woman who submitted the FoI has asked not to be identified, but she told the Sunday Herald: “I was shocked. My worry is it’s a cover up and I want to know how widespread it is. I really want to know exactly when my files were destroyed and who worked in the office at the time.”

She is not ready to speak about what happened to her while at St Katharine’s but said on her first night “two aggressive male staff members who towered over my 15-year-old frame told me they needed to perform a strip-search”. She resisted and was locked in a room overnight where she heard “banging and horrific screams for help coming from the room next door.”

St Katharine’s became notorious after it came to light that former employee Gordon Collins abused children between 1995 and 2006. He carried out the attacks at two council-run residential units – St Katharine’s Secure Unit and Northfield Young Persons Unit. Four girls were assaulted, aged between 13 and 15. One girl was told she was beautiful, and given cigarettes and sweets. Another was molested over the course of a year.

One of the victims was raped after Collins went into her room at night. The teenager – who had been placed in the home after a series of violent attacks by her stepfather – was repeatedly raped by Collins over the course of a year.

 

Collins was jailed for six years in June last year, then the sentence was increased to 10 years by Lord Brodie following an unsuccessful appeal in November. Brodie said Collins “committed an appalling series of offences involving the predatory sexual abuse of four vulnerable teenaged girls” when he was “in a position of trust” and noted that Collins has “shown no remorse and continues to deny responsibility for the offences”.

Another former St Katharine’s employee, Kevin Glancy, was jailed for 15 months and placed on the sex offenders register for 10 years in 2008 for possessing child pornography. Sheriff Elizabeth Jarvie said at the time: “It’s quite clear that the children involved here had been the subject of serious abuse. You are part of the audience that perpetrates that such abuse is sustained.”

The Sunday Herald contacted the Information Rights Manager at the City of Edinburgh Council, Douglas Stephen, who confirmed that the local authority had launched an investigation into why files were destroyed. He also warned that the destruction of records may be more widespread. Stephen said: “Unfortunately we don’t know if it’s an isolated incident. There is a team investigating. It’s particularly unfortunate that this has happened and we are offering support. I don’t think it’s a systematic error, it appears to be an administrative error. Something has gone wrong and we need to find out what has happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

 

Alan Draper of the organisation In Care Abuse Survivors (INCAS) said the destruction of children’s records is “potentially criminal”. He said: “To claim that it was an administrative error is an unacceptable excuse. I suspect it is probably widespread. It seems rather convenient to destroy records from a time period when abuse was taking place. The abuse inquiry must hold people to account for these organisational failures. The destruction of records also raises questions about whether it was deliberate and whether police should be investigating.”

David Whelan of FBGA (Former Boys and Girls Abused of Quarriers Homes) said destruction of records will be a “major issue” for the abuse inquiry. Whelan was abused in care and spent two years battling for his records before Glasgow Social Care Services admitted there were none. He said: “There are huge concerns about organisations getting rid of records which could be used in the inquiry as evidence. In some cases these records could have helped with the investigations. This new evidence that records were destroyed by this local authority raises further concerns about how widespread the problem is. The fact that it’s relatively recent makes it all the more serious. You would not expect records to disappear after the 1980s. The destruction of records also raises questions about why they were destroyed, particularly in relation to this case.”

 

Dave Sharp, who is a spokesman for SAFE (Seek And Find Everyone abused in childhood), which is working to encourage abuse survivors to contact the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry, said: “There are many people including myself who have spent years trying to get hold of records of our time in institutions in Scotland. The effect this has on your life is devastating. There are many examples of adults who have come forward years after being abused looking for their records to try and get some kind of understanding of what happened to them.

“If you search online for facts and figures about historical child abuse in any country and in any language you will be bombarded with information about the wheres and whys – but when you start asking questions in Scotland you are met with this great big brick wall of silence. Everyone has to wake up and see what has gone on. There are far more organisations, including local authorities, that were involved in the destroying of records than people really think. This is yet another reason why there has to be a national public awareness campaign about the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry.”

Janine Rennie, Chief Executive of Wellbeing Scotland, a charity which supports survivors of abuse, said: “Records are evidence which can help survivors in achieving justice, either criminal or civil. The destruction of records is not an administrative failing, it is destruction of evidence, intentionally or in error. It is happening too often and to ensure justice and redress for survivors for the harm caused, those responsible for destroying records must be held to account.”

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said: “The statutory requirement on local authorities is to retain records for 100 years relating to a child who is looked after…the Scottish Government would expect all local authorities to comply with this statutory duty.”

A spokeswoman for City of Edinburgh Council apologised for the “administrative error” and said they are “investigating the circumstances which led to the error”, as well as providing support to the woman affected.

A spokesman for COSLA, the association of local authorities, said: “We are fully committed to working with both survivors and agencies to ensure the removal of barriers to justice for survivors of historical child abuse. We fundamentally support the coming Limitation Act and recognise that a key aspect of implementing this legislation is access to files and records. We know this requires transparency and sensitivity and councils will do everything in their power to make records available.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry said it has “invested in a wide-ranging public information campaign” and is encouraging survivors to call 0800 0929300 or emailing talktous@childabuseinquiry.scot

Councils in Scotland systematically destroyed care home records

A report into abuse in Scottish children’s homes found that senior council staff in Scotland ordered the destruction of records.

The dossier – Historical Abuse Systemic Review Residential Schools and Children’s Homes in Scotland 1950 to 1995 – by Tom Shaw, former chief inspector of education in Northern Ireland, said: “Some people in key positions, such as senior managers, seemed to lack understanding about the significance of records, what records existed and where. Some senior people in local authorities, voluntary and religious organisations were guarded and even unwilling to help. The review also learned that senior people had ordered records to be destroyed.”

The Public Records (Scotland) Act 1937 was the main law in place to ensure preservation of public records during the period of the review.

The report, published in 2007, said: “The absence of adequate public records legislation means that local authorities aren’t consistent in how they deal with archives or manage records. Many have archives, but archivists complain of lack of funding and of little value being placed on their work. There is no guidance on how to identify and keep records and when it’s acceptable to destroy records.”

The review’s survey of local authority archivists revealed a litany of problems with retaining records. All records after 1996 are on recycled paper, which is “unlikely to survive in the long term”, the report said. One archive holds no records specific to children’s residential establishments, and attempts to find the information from council departments failed. Another archivist said they were instructed to destroy records in 2004.

The report also noted that: “Senior people working in social work departments had ordered records associated with children’s residential services to be destroyed. These included children’s files and management records.”

“I sat on my bed, terrified, not sure what was happening to the girl next door, wondering if I would be next.”

The words below are extracts from writing by the former St Katharine’s resident who submitted the FOI but discovered her records had been destroyed. She has asked not to be named.

“Yesterday, I sat in therapy, discussing this feeling I have that I am invisible, insignificant, that I could disappear and nobody would notice. That I am inferior to everybody else, that there’s something different about me that makes me less than human.

“These beliefs don’t come from nowhere. A lot of them can be traced back to the time I spent in a secure unit when I was a teenager. I had been placed there after spending several years being moved around different hospitals struggling with an eating disorder and several suicide attempts.

“I had been told I was going to a secure unit for my own safety, but I wasn’t told what this really meant, or what it would be like when I got there. Nothing could have prepared me for what happened on my arrival.

“I was taken to an ‘interview room’ that was more like a cupboard where I sat across from two aggressive male staff members who towered over my 15-year-old frame. They told me they needed to perform a strip-search before I could enter the unit. I refused, and insisted on a female member of staff being present. Nobody had requested this before and I was locked in this suffocating room for hours before a female staff member was found in a nearby children’s home. ‘Welcome to secure,’ I was told.

“I was then taken to my room and told that because of the trouble I’d caused, there would be a delay before someone could come search my belongings and they would come back later. I was locked in my room, sitting on my mattress, waiting. Nobody came back that night. I listened as everyone got ready for bed, shouting threats at each other and the ‘new bitch’ who’d delayed their cigarette break. I listened to banging and horrific screams for help coming from the room next door. I sat on my bed, terrified, not sure what was happening to the girl next door, wondering if I would be next.

“I have never been as scared in my life as I was that night. Nor have I ever felt so vulnerable, so powerless, so alone. It hit me like a thousand bricks that I was trapped, and although people knew where I was, I had no way of getting out or calling for help. I felt like a ghost. I had vanished from my own life.

“My memories of the months that followed are patchy. My fear levels shot through the roof that night and did not come down.

Part of processing this experience involved putting in a request recently to see my files from that time in my life. I wanted to know what was documented, what gaps in my own memories could be filled in.

“I received a letter yesterday from my local authority telling me that due to an admin error, all my records have been destroyed. Deleted. As if they didn’t matter. As if they were irrelevant. As if they were too much bother to deal with so why not just get rid of them. As if they were young people who were just ‘too difficult to cope with’.

“Files and records can be destroyed but experiences have a lasting impact. If I don’t share my story I might not realise that it’s like your story. Or his story. Or part of her story. If I don’t share my story, it stays my secret and my shame. And I stay invisible. Instead of coming into the light, and hoping that others will join me.”

 

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Child abuse survivors at Bridge of Weir home say scale of attacks is comparable to Jersey ‘house of horror’

A lawyer for victims said there was evidence  of a ‘Quarriers way’ during the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry

A lawyer for victims at the facility in Bridge of Weir, Renfrewshire, drew similarities with the notorious Haut de la Garenne children’s home in Jersey.
The former Quarriers home in Bridge of Weir

Stuart Gale QC told the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry there was evidence of a “Quarriers way” similar to the “Jersey way” of protecting powerful figures and preventing whistle-blowing.

Speaking during closing statements of phase one of the inquiry, he also said survivors are disappointed with the “weasel words” used by some organisations to avoid issuing full, unequivocal apologies for abuse under their care.

More than 20 former residents of Quarriers during the 1970s have complained of abuse.

Gale said Quarriers “continue to underplay the extent of abuse that occurred within the institution and the attendant failures of their systems to prevent abuse.”

Victims have criticised Quarriers and numerous other organisations for the lack of record-keeping at the time of the abuse and possible removal of records in later years.

Mr Gale added: “We cannot understate the further harm caused to survivors by the intimidation of witnesses in the criminal trials and the tactics deployed on behalf of Quarriers in the civil litigations, which were designed  to doubt the evidence of those whose abusers had been convicted.”

Quarriers were contacted but could not be reached for comment.

david.bateman@the-sun.co.uk

Child abuse survivors at Bridge of Weir home say scale of attacks is comparable to Jersey ‘house of horror’

‘150 victims’ in Scottish football abuse inquiry

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-40556987

Image copyright THINKSTOCK
Image captionAllegations of abuse have been made by former players across the UK

More than 150 people have so far reported being the victims of historical child sexual abuse within Scottish football.

A major Police Scotland investigation was launched in November after the force received reports of “non-recent child abuse within football”.

Since then, the force said it had made a total of 11 arrests.

Similar allegations of sexual abuse have been made by former players across the UK.

In its latest update on the investigation, Police Scotland said a total of 162 people had come forward to either report or provide information about child abuse in Scottish football, with the force also having “proactively made contact with a number of victims and witnesses”.

Det Ch Supt Lesley Boal said: “As of 30 June 2017, 11 people have been arrested, more than 150 people have reported being sexually abused as a child within a football club setting and 295 crimes have been recorded.”

She said the force’s specialist investigation team was “progressing well” with the inquiry.

‘Not alone’

Urging any remaining victims to contact either the police or the dedicated NSPCC helpline, she said: “Our assurance to anyone who has not felt able to report so far is you are absolutely not alone.

“We will listen, we will investigate regardless of where or when the abuse occurred, and we will take prompt action to ensure that no-one else is at risk of harm.”

She also urged anyone with any information or concerns about anyone who may pose a risk to children, or who may have abused a child, to the police or their local social work department.

‎A BBC Scotland investigation revealed in December that former youth coach and referee Hugh Stevenson was allowed to carry on working in football for several years after being reported to police and the SFA over child sex offences.

Another BBC documentary earlier this year revealed fresh allegations of child sex abuse against the founder of Celtic Boys’ Club, Jim Torbett.

Torbett was jailed for two years in 1998 after being convicted of abusing three former Celtic Boys’ Club players, including former Scotland international Alan Brazil, between 1967-74. He “vehemently denies” the new allegations against him.

Jim McCafferty, a former youth coach who was the kit man for Celtic, Hibernian and Falkirk, was arrested in Belfast after allegations were made against him.

Separately, allegations have also been made against coaches who were formerly involved with clubs including Motherwell, Partick Thistle and Rangers.

The allegations involve incidents said to have happened between the 1970s and early 1990s.

The Scottish Football Association has set up an independent review tasked with examining child protection “processes and procedures” in place both currently and historically in Scottish football.

Ex-child abuse inquiry chairwoman Susan O’Brien loses damages claim

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-40506074 

A £500,000 damages claim brought against the Scottish government by the former chairwoman of a child abuse inquiry has been thrown out of court.

A judge ruled Susan O’Brien QC’s compensation claim should be dismissed.

He said she had failed to plead a relevant case of breach of contract or infringement of article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

Lord Pentland held that the case advanced on behalf of Ms O’Brien for breach of contract was “misconceived”.

He ruled that the article 8 breach arguments of the action, covering the right to respect for private and family life, were “unsound”.

Ms O’Brien was appointed to head the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry in July 2015 but resigned a year later after facing the sack over “unacceptable” comments.

She was replaced by High Court judge Lady Smith.

‘Proportionate and fair’

Ms O’Brien raised an action for damages at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

She had sought an order from the court declaring ministers’ actions in invoking procedure under the Inquiries Act 2005, proposing to terminate her appointment, amounted to a breach of contract and were incompatible with her rights.

The Scottish government said it welcomed the decision to dismiss the damages claim.

A spokesman said it confirmed “that ministers acted lawfully in exercising their responsibilities under the Inquiries Act 2005 and other relevant legislation”.

The spokesman added: “The judge has confirmed that the decision by ministers to undertake an investigation was, in the circumstances, appropriate, proportionate and fair.

“The focus of the Scottish government remains on supporting the successful operation of the independent public inquiry.”

 

Scottish child abuse inquiry hears apologies over ‘deplorable’ attacks 

child abuse survivors
Image caption Child abuse survivors gathered for a vigil outside Rosebery House before the inquiry startedThe first hearing in the Scottish child abuse inquiry has heard apologies from organisations which ran children’s homes around the country.

More than 60 institutions, including several top private schools and church bodies, are being investigated.

The inquiry, which is being chaired by Lady Smith, is looking in detail at historical abuse of children in residential care.

It is expected to report in late 2019 – four years after it was set up.

The opening session in Edinburgh heard apologies from groups who said they “deplored that physical sexual abuses could occur”.

They included Quarrier’s, Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul, Sisters of Nazareth, Good Shepherd Sisters, De La Salle Brothers and Christian Brothers.

Lady Smith began the public hearings by acknowledging that many children in Scotland have been abused in residential care over the years.

Lady Smith
               Image copyright Nick Mailer
               Image caption Lady Smith has urged victims and witnesses to come forward

The High Court judge revealed the number of survivors who had already spoken to the inquiry team was “very far in excess” of 200.

She said: “They suffered some terrible treatment inflicted by those to whom their care was entrusted. That is a matter of grave concern.

“It is critically important that our community engages in facing up to the fact that children in care were wronged and failed in the past and to commit to seeing to it that children of today and of the future are safe.

“It’s not easy to do that, for many it will be a painful process. But if we are to achieve real, substantial and lasting change for the better it has to be done.”

‘Cruelly betrayed’

John Scott QC, for the In Care Abuse Survivors group (Incas), said children had been “cruelly betrayed by those supposed to care for them”.

He said the inquiry had come too late for those who have already died, but added: “It is not too late for at least some acknowledgement and accountability, not too late for some compensation, not too late for other survivors to come forward.”

The hearings have now been adjourned until Thursday.

The inquiry states its purpose as being “to investigate the nature and extent of abuse of children whilst in care in Scotland”, while considering “the extent to which institutions and bodies with legal responsibility for the care of children failed in their duty”, in particular seeking any “systemic failures”.

It classes “in care” as being:

  • Children’s homes (including residential care provided by faith based groups)
  • Secure care units including List D schools
  • Borstals and Young Offenders’ Institutions
  • Places provided for Boarded Out children in the Highlands and Islands
  • State, private and independent Boarding Schools, including state funded school hostels
  • Healthcare establishments providing long term care, and any similar establishments intended to provide children with long term residential care
  • Children in foster care

But it does not cover children who were abused while living with their natural or adoptive families, while using sports and leisure clubs or attending faith based organisations on a day to day basis.

The inquiry will also not examine allegations of children being abused in non-boarding schools, nursery or day-care centres.

Its terms of reference say it covers a time period “within living memory of any person who suffered such abuse”, up until the point the inquiry was announced in December 2014, and will consider if “changes in practice, policy or legislation are necessary” to protect children in care from abuse in future.


child abuse

Analysis by Reevel Alderson, BBC Scotland home affairs correspondent

The inquiry’s remit has been criticised as being too narrow, even though the government says it is the widest public inquiry they have ever established.

Some campaigners say that while abuse in residential schools, for example by a priest, would be covered, abuse by the same person in a parish or working with a youth organisation like the Scouts would not.

And it has also been criticised for not dealing with the question of redress or compensation, which by contrast has been the case with other inquiries in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Jersey and Australia.


The inquiry at Rosebery House, in Edinburgh’s Haymarket, will hear from survivor groups and large care providers as well as faith-based organisations.

Among those appearing will be representatives of the Church of Scotland/CrossReach, the Benedictines, Barnardo’s and Aberlour Child Care Trust.

The Scottish government will give evidence on “the nature, extent and development of the state’s areas of responsibility for children in residential and foster care in Scotland”.

Survivors’ vigil

Some survivors and campaigners staged a vigil outside the building before the inquiry got under way.

They also organised a minute’s silence at 13:00 “to remember those children whose lives have been taken by abusers, those who have lost their lives from the affects of abuse and those who have died without gaining justice for the crimes committed against them”.

The inquiry has been plagued by problems since it was set up in October 2015. Around £6m has been spent on it during this period.

child abuse survivors
Image caption Flowers were laid outside Rosebery House by survivors and campaigners
child abuse flowers

Its original chairwoman, Susan O’Brien QC, resigned from her post in July 2016, citing government interference.

A second panel member, Prof Michael Lamb, also resigned, claiming the inquiry was “doomed”.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said at the time that he rejected any charges of interference in the independence of the inquiry, and that the Scottish government wanted a “robust independent inquiry that can operate without fear or favour”.

Thanks to the sun for the original article Thanks to Wild Cat for her Video on Stv News.

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Police must be at Scotland’s first child abuse inquiry public hearings, say survivors

Survivors of systemic sexual and physical abuse have asked Police Scotland to send officers to the first public hearings of an unprecedented inquiry.They have also urged the independent Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry to publish a detailed breakdown of spending after costs soared by more than £2m in the first three months of this year.

And there have been fresh calls to widen the inquiry to include a charity which has worked with more than 1,000 survivors but was denied “core participant” status, meaning it can’t question witnesses or view evidence.

The first phase of public hearings are scheduled to begin at the end of May, almost two years after the inquiry into historical allegations – chaired by Supreme Court judge Lady Anne Smith – was set up.If witnesses give evidence about ongoing criminal activity the inquiry “may be obliged” to pass this to police, according to its website.

The Chief Constable of Police Scotland is a core participant but survivors’ groups have suggested that officers should also be at all hearings to listen to testimonies.

Alan Draper, who previously advised the Catholic Church on sexual abuse and now speaks for In Care Abuse Survivors (INCAS) – one of the core participants in the inquiry – said: “I would hope that at the public hearings police will attend. It would certainly help, from a survivors’ point of view.

“If it is clear there’s a particular home, and a number of people are repeatedly named by survivors, we would demand that information is acted upon and potential crimes against vulnerable children are investigated.

“Equally, police could themselves have questions to answer if, for example, it emerges officers failed to take appropriate action about historical abuse, in terms of an investigation.”

Janine Rennie, Chief Executive of survivors’ support charity Wellbeing Scotland, said: “The police have a role to play, particularly the child abuse unit. Clearly they’re not going to attend each time, which means there may be a gap, and that is a concern.

 

“I think criminal prosecutions are the way forward because survivors feel they have no access to justice. We need corroboration and if the same individual is named on a number of occasions then Police Scotland would have to take action.

“A number of perpetrators could still be at large. Survivors don’t want to look at systemic failings as much as they want justice.”

Rennie’s charity has been shut out of the inquiry after an application to be a core participant was refused.

“It seems really strange that we have not been included because we’ve worked with 1,100 survivors,” Rennie added. “They said there already were core participants that work with the same survivors, but that is not the case and we have appealed the decision.”

Meanwhile, Draper has questioned the inquiry’s failure to provide a full breakdown of spiralling costs.

The website shows that the total expenditure is £5.7m – up from £3.5m at the end of December last year – and The Sunday Herald understands there is no upper limit.

Draper said: “They’ve spent an enormous amount of money, considering no public hearings have yet taken place. The inquiry has a responsibility to spell out what this has been spent on.

“While the money should be spent, we can’t deny accountability. We would like to see a breakdown on a quarterly basis, not just a headline figure.”

The first public hearings will begin on May 31 and run until July 12. Among the organisations giving evidence will be Quarriers, Barnardo’s and various religious groups including the Sisters of Nazareth, Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul and the Church of Scotland.

Experts will also give statements on the legislative and regulatory framework governing children in care, the early development of care services in Scotland, societal attitudes towards children and the nature and prevalence of child abuse in Scotland.

Alan Draper of INCAS said: “Lady Smith has invited a wide range of organisations to come. Whether they’ll acknowledge the abuse that happened in establishments they had responsibility for, I don’t know.

“A lot of organisations will be tentative, in terms of publicity. I suspect they’ll be on the defensive. A lot of them have good lawyers and the tendency may be to admit nothing and deny everything.

“What survivors experience is obstruction from organisations, but we’re hopeful this inquiry will open doors so that there will be true accountability.”

David Whelan, spokesman for Former Boys and Girls Abused (FBGA) in Quarriers homes, said a reference group should have been set up by the inquiry to “allow survivor groups to collectively raise any concerns and also to have a better understanding of the inquiry process in laymen’s terms”.

Whelan added: “Some survivors are still raising concerns about barriers – including understanding the legal documents – [which] may be preventing engagement with the inquiry. The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry process is clearly a legalistic process and many survivors are having real difficulty understanding the legal documents and their concepts. To someone who is non-legal these documents are difficult to understand. Any barriers – perceived or otherwise – encountered by survivors to engaging with the inquiry should be addressed as a priority.”

 

A spokesman for the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry said: “This inquiry is one of the most far reaching to have taken place in Scotland and its investigations are progressing.

“Evidence has already been gathered from many survivors through private sessions across the UK, and we continue to source information and documents from various institutions and organisations as we prepare for the first public hearings at the end of this month.

“Each week survivors get in touch with us, and we would encourage anyone who believes they have relevant information to contact us.”

The Sunday Herald also contacted core participants in the inquiry for comment.

Viv Dickenson, Director of Children and Family Services for CrossReach, the Social Care Council of The Church of Scotland, said: “As an organisation invested in continuous improvement we will be interested in the findings of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry, which will examine practice as far back as the 1930s, and anything we learn during this process will be used to help us strengthen and improve our safeguarding policies in the future.”

 

A spokesman for Quarriers said: “We strongly believe that all survivors have the right to be heard and that Scotland should learn the lessons of its past, however painful, to ensure that all children are treated with love and compassion and have the best start in life.”

 

A spokeswoman for Barnardo’s said the charity would not “risk any perceived conflict of interest in making comments on issues of importance to abuse survivors”.

The Sisters of Nazareth and The Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul did not respond.

A spokeswoman for Police Scotland referred the Sunday Herald to two paragraphs of a lengthy statement by Assistant Chief Constable John Hawkins, which was published on its website in January 2017.

“Police Scotland fully supports and is fully engaged with the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry. We are grateful that Lady Smith has granted Police Scotland ‘core participant’ status.

“As the statutory agency with responsibility for criminal investigation into reports of child abuse and as a major stakeholder in the wider statutory framework regulating child protection in Scotland, we fully expect to have a significant role to play in supporting the Inquiry in fulfilment of its terms of reference.”

When the Crown Office was asked if it was participating in the enquiry, a spokesman for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service – which is responsible for the prosecution of crime in Scotland – confirmed no application to be a core participant in the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry was submitted.

He added: “We will respond as necessary when required to do so.”

Anyone wishing to contact the inquiry can call 0800 0929300 or email talktous@childabuseinquiry.scot

Scottish child abuse inquiry investigates top private schools 

Fettes CollegeImage copyright Google
Image caption Fettes College is one of the boarding schools being investigated by inquiry staff, the chairwoman confirmed

More than 60 institutions, including several top private schools, are being investigated by the Scottish child abuse inquiry, it has been confirmed.

The new chairwoman of the inquiry, Lady Smith, said they were among 100 locations where abuse is alleged to have taken place.

She said several boarding schools, including Fettes College and Gordonstoun, were being investigated.

The inquiry will look in detail at historical abuse of children in care.

Lady Smith replaces the original chairwoman who resigned in July 2016. Susan O’Brien stood down complaining of government interference.

Speaking at the start of the inquiry at the Court of Session building in Edinburgh, Lady Smith insisted the investigation would be fully independent.

She confirmed that several boarding schools were being investigated by inquiry staff.

Other institutions being investigated include those run by faith-based organisations and major care providers like Quarriers and Barnardo’s.

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Institutions under investigation

Boarding schools

  • Fettes College
  • Gordonstoun
  • The former Keil School
  • Loretto School
  • Merchiston Castle School
  • Morrison’s Academy (when it was a boarding school)

Institutions run by religious orders

  • Benedictines
  • Sisters of Nazareth
  • Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul
  • Christian Brothers
  • Sisters of our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd
  • De la Salle Brothers
  • Marist Brothers
  • Church of Scotland (Crossreach)

Other providers

  • Quarriers
  • Barnardo’s
  • Aberlour Child Care Trust
  • Widower’s Children’s Home

Local authority establishments

  • Clerwood Children’s Home, Edinburgh
  • Colonsay House, Perth
  • Nimmo Place Children’s Homes, Perth
  • St Margaret’s Children’s Home, Fife
  • Linwood Hall Children’s Home, Fife
  • Kerelaw Secure Unit, Glasgow
  • St Katherine’s Secure Unit, Edinburgh
  • Larchgrove Remand Home, Glasgow

Source: Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry

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Lady Smith also said child migrants were “expressly included in the inquiry”, with staff working to contact people in countries like Canada, Australia, New Zealand who may have suffered abuse in Scotland.

The first public hearings will begin on 31 May 2017 and the inquiry is expected to last four years.

The judge told the court that she would act independently and without bias, and was fully independent of government, police and prosecutors.

The judge added she would not have agreed to chair the inquiry if she had concerns about its independent status.

‘Systematic failures’

The inquiry states its purpose as being “to investigate the nature and extent of abuse of children whilst in care in Scotland”, while considering “the extent to which institutions and bodies with legal responsibility for the care of children failed in their duty”, in particular seeking any “systemic failures”.

Its terms of reference say it covers a time period “within living memory of any person who suffered such abuse”, up until the point the inquiry was announced in December 2014, and will consider if “changes in practice, policy or legislation are necessary” to protect children in care from abuse in future.

Lady Smith
Image caption Lady Smith, pictured, was appointed to chair the inquiry after the resignation of Susan O’Brien QC

The inquiry has been plagued by problems since it was set up in October 2015. More than £3.5m has been spent on it during this period.

As well as the original chairwoman quitting last July, a second panel member, Prof Michael Lamb, also resigned, claiming the inquiry was “doomed”.

Lady Smith was appointed to replace Ms O’Brien, but Mr Swinney said he was confident a replacement for Prof Lamb was not needed – although he added that experts could be called in to assist Lady Smith and remaining panel member Glenn Houston.

There were also complaints about the remit of the inquiry, with survivors’ groups claiming some abusers could be could be “let off the hook” if children’s’ organisations, clubs and local parish churches were not specifically included in the probe.

However, Mr Swinney told MSPs that it was clear there was “not unanimity on this issue”, concluding that the probe should focus only on in-care settings so that it remained “deliverable within a reasonable timescale”.

He said “terrible crimes” had been committed in other settings, such as day schools and youth groups, but said criminal behaviour should be referred to the police and would be “energetically pursued through the criminal courts” where evidence exists.

A bill has been introduced at Holyrood removing any time bar on people seeking damages over childhood abuse.

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-38799049