Wed 1st Feb 2017
MORE than 60 residential care establishments for youngsters are being investigated by the team working on Scotland’s national child abuse inquiry, its chairwoman has said.
They are among more than 100 locations where the abuse of children is alleged to have taken place, Lady Smith announced.
Boarding schools, institutions run by religious orders and local authorities are among the establishments being probed.
The schools specifically being investigated by inquiry staff are Fettes College, Gordonstoun, the former Keil School, Loretto School, Merchiston Castle School, and Morrison’s Academy when it was a boarding school, the hearing was told.
The inquiry is also investigating the relationship between the Catholic Church in Scotland and these religious orders, as well as three establishments run by the Church of Scotland.
Inquiry chair Lady Smith named a list of places being probed as she provided an update on its progress during a preliminary hearing in Edinburgh.
The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry is examining historical allegations of the abuse of children in care and has been taking statements from witnesses since the spring of last year.
Lady Smith told the hearing at Parliament House that the inquiry is “determined to get to the bottom of any systemic failures that occurred”.
She appealed to anyone with relevant evidence to come forward and speak to the inquiry.
“We are determined to find out the truth about what happened to children in care, where, how and why,” she said.
“We want to find out why the abuse was not prevented, why it was not stopped, and what needs to be done to protect children in care in the future.” Senior judge Lady Smith said 170 people had contacted the inquiry by June last year and “many more have done so since then”, but she said she would not give a running commentary on the number of individuals coming forward.
Turning to institutions, she said: “So far, we have identified more than 100 locations where abuse of children is said to have taken place but we know that there are many more than that.
“The inquiry team is currently investigating over 60 residential care establishments for children in order to gather, from those who ran them and others, evidence about how children who were being cared for in a range of different settings and by a number of different types of care organisations were treated.”
Other current investigations are focusing on religious orders the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul, the Sisters of our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, the De la Salle Brothers and Marist Brothers, the hearing was told.
Church of Scotland-run establishments being probed are Ballikinrain School, Geilsland Residential School, and the Lord and Lady Polwarth Home for Children in Edinburgh.
The team is further looking at how children were treated at institutions run by “major care providers” Quarriers, Barnardo’s, Aberlour Child Care Trust, as well as Widower’s Children’s Home. Eight children’s homes and secure units across Edinburgh, Glasgow, Perth and Fife are also being looked into, the inquiry team revealed. In her first public remarks since she became chair last summer, Lady Smith confirmed child migrants will be included in the inquiry’s remit.
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