11 October 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE PUBLICATION
Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry Publishes First Case Study Findings
Many Children found “no love, no compassion, no dignity and no comfort” whilst in the care of the Daughters of Charity in Scotland
The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry has today (Thursday 11 October) published its findings into residential institutions run by the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul (DoC). They conclude that children did suffer abuse.
During the case study, the Inquiry considered evidence about the nature and extent of any relevant abuse at institutions run by the DoC in Scotland, with a particular focus on Smyllum and Bellevue.
The Inquiry also examined any systems, policies and procedures in place at these institutions, and how these were applied.
Lady Smith, Chair of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry, said: “For many children who were in Smyllum and Bellevue, the homes were places of fear, coercive control, threat, excessive discipline and emotional, physical and sexual abuse, where they found no love, no compassion, no dignity and no comfort.”
Lady Smith will take these findings into account when she analyses all the evidence gathered by the Inquiry and decides what recommendations to make within the final report.
The 20-day case study took place from November 2017 to January 2018, during which time the Inquiry heard evidence from 54 witnesses about their experiences of Smyllum Park in Lanark and Bellevue House in Rutherglen. A further 21 written statements of evidence were read in during the public hearings.
Applicants and other witnesses continue to come forward to the Inquiry with relevant evidence about the care provided by DoC and this will be considered as part of the continuing process.
The findings from the DoC case study can be read in full on the Inquiry website: www.ChildAbuseInquiry.Scot
Link to the case study findings – Daughters of Charity – PDF version
Smyllum Park Orphanage in Lanark
Children were subjected to horrifying abuse at a former children’s home run by the Catholic Church in Rutherglen, an investigation has revealed.
A public inquiry has found that nuns, priests and staff at Bellevue House and also Smyllum Park in Lanark physically and sexually abused kids for many decades.
In its first interim report, published last Thursday, the Scottish child abuse inquiry (SCAI) found that boys and girls housed in the two Catholic residential homes were systematically starved of love, dignity and compassion.
Lady Smith, chair of the commission, said: “For many children who were in Smyllum and Bellevue, the homes were places of fear, coercive control, threat, excessive discipline and emotional, physical and sexual abuse, where they found no love, no compassion, no dignity and no comfort.”
She added: “For some children, being hit was a normal aspect of daily life.”
Bellevue House, which was based in Clincarthill, and Smyllum Park were run by the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul.
Nearly 6,600 children lived at Bellevue House from its opening in 1912 until 1943, but no records show how many were there until its closure in 1961.
These included children who were orphaned or whose families were unable to care for them.
And while Lady Smith focused on the period from 1917 to 1981 when investigating Smyllum Park, more than 11,600 children were placed at the Lanark home from its opening in 1864 until its closure 117 years later.
The inquiry was set up in October 2015 to look at the historical
abuse of children in care across Scotland.
It is currently looking at allegations of physical and sexual abuse at 86 institutions, including former children’s homes and boarding schools.
From the end of November last year, the child abuse inquiry heard case study evidence over 20 days about the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul.
It emerged in August that at least 16 former members of staff at Smyllum Park – mostly women, including several nuns – had been arrested by Police Scotland and charged over alleged abuse. Their cases have now been referred to a specialist unit at the Crown Office, Scotland’s prosecution service.
Lady Smith upheld allegations from some residents that they were systematically sexually abused by priests, a trainee priest, nuns and lay members of staff.
She records former residents being physically assaulted with hairbrushes, a leather belt or tawse, rosary beads and wooden crucifixes
The report details victims being force-fed at meal times, being forced to wear their wet sheets and verbally humiliated after wetting the bed. Children were also used as unpaid labour when staff numbers were short.
The inquiry, which has cost £15.67m so far, was scheduled to end next year but the Scottish Government has since said it can take as long as it needs.