March 23rd 2016
The Chair of the Inquiry today launched the Inquiry’s first formal call for evidence, inviting survivors of abuse to come forward and share their experiences.
Those who suffered abuse as children in residential or foster care and who wish to provide evidence to the Inquiry are being asked to make contact by email, post or, from Tuesday 29 March, through a dedicated Freephone number, 0800 0929 300.
Survivors who provide evidence in this way will be known as “applicants”. The description “applicants” has been chosen because these are survivors who have applied to assist the Inquiry. The first private evidence gathering meetings will take place from late April.
Applicants will initially have the opportunity to have their evidence heard in private and recorded anonymously by experienced and specially trained lawyers. There will also be public hearings and names can be public if applicants want them to. Rules providing for applications for anonymity have also been published on the Inquiry’s website.
The Inquiry expects public hearings to begin in November 2016, with the first looking at the current provision of psychological support for abuse survivors in Scotland.
Ms O’Brien aims to provide an interim report on the first public hearings next year as that may enable the Inquiry to make recommendations that could improve the situation for survivors before publication of the Inquiry’s final report. It is likely that interim reports will be published for subsequent public hearings.
The Chair has outlined the arrangements for providing legal support for applicants and those accused of abuse and announced that she intends to grant core participant status to some survivor groups provided that they meet certain criteria.
Inquiry guidance and protocols can be found here
The Inquiry has also published its expenditure to 31 December 2016 here