Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry’s scope ‘could be widened’

Inquiry: Mr Swinney meets representatives.

Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry’s scope ‘could be widened’     20 hours ago

It may now be extended to also cover the abuse of children in the community 

Deputy first minister John Swinney will consider widening the remit of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry after the resignation of two key members of the panel.

The inquiry may now be extended to cover the abuse of children in the community, as well as those in care.

It has been a key demand from campaigners and could enable the inquiry to cover historic abuse in children’s organisations and local parishes.

Earlier, Mr Swinney held a three-hour meeting with groups representing victims of child abuse on Thursday.

The move came after chairwoman Susan O’Brien and Professor Michael Lamb stepped down from the three-member panel.

Representatives from the groups involved, including In Care Abuse Survivors and White Flowers Alba, said the meeting was “positive.”

Mr Swinney disagreed with the view of the panel members who resigned, saying: “The government believes this inquiry should be utterly independent.

“That is how it was set up and that is how it will continue.”

Ms O’Brien resigned from her post on Monday after claims she made comments which were “offensive to survivors”.

Prof Lamb had earlier resigned from the investigation panel, claiming the Scottish Government had been interfering in the process.

Mr Swinney said he had started formal proceedings against Ms O’Brien after she allegedly made comments which were “incompatible with the post of chair of such an inquiry”.

Ms O’Brien claimed the expert who described her “offensive” comments had misunderstood what she knew about the case.

She also raised concerns over interference, saying: “I cannot reassure the public that this inquiry will be conducted independently of government.”

After Thursday’s meeting, Mr Swinney said: “I am hugely grateful to all of the survivors for the significant time they gave to today’s discussion and their openness during the meeting. I have been keen to consider all the issues that have been raised by survivors in light of recent events in connection to the public inquiry.

“I want to assure survivors that I have heard them today. I recognise how important it is for us to build trust and I am absolutely committed to that. I am utterly committed to an independent inquiry and I have tried to answer all the questions survivors had. 

“All the evidence already collected by the inquiry will be utilised and work has begun on filling the panel vacancies while the remaining panel member and the team continue processing applications. The inquiry remains on track, and I will be meeting survivor groups again over the summer.” SOURCE

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