Interim report finds ‘widespread abuse’ of children at Scottish care establishments

There was widespread abuse of children at care establishments in Scotland, an interim report has concluded.

The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry has published its findings into residential institutions run by charities Quarriers, Aberlour Child Care Trust, and Barnardo’s between 1921 and 1991. The findings conclude that children did suffer physical, emotional and sexual abuse.

The inquiry considered evidence about the nature and extent of any abuse of children in care at institutions run by the charities at various locations across Scotland.

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: “Children were physically abused, emotionally abused, and sexually abused in harsh, rigid regimes. Many children did not find the warmth, care, and compassionate comfort they needed. Scant regard was paid to their dignity.

“The previous lives of the children who came into the care of the providers had all been blighted in some way, whether by being abused in the family home, the death of one or more parent, parental illness, families who could not cope with caring for them, abandonment, or by other similar circumstances.

“The providers could have made a real and positive difference to every child, but that did not happen. For many, further damage was inflicted upon them.”

Lady Smith added: “The providers now recognise and accept that there was widespread abuse of children in their establishments. They have all apologised for it.

“A particularly frank and clear apology was offered on behalf of Quarriers by their current Chief Executive. Counsel for Barnardo’s and for Aberlour indicated that those providers, having heard evidence in this case study, also tendered their apologies.”

The 43 day case study took place between 23 October 2018 and 12 February 2019, during which time the inquiry heard evidence from 110 witnesses.

These findings will be used along all the evidence gathered before Lady Smith decides what recommendations to make within her final report.

The findings can be read in full on the Inquiry website.

Picture (c) Nick Mailer / PA Wire.