Historic child abuse inquiry should recommend support for victims, says Nicky Campbell

An inquiry investigating historic child abuse in Scotland should recommend support for victims that would “repair lives already broken”, broadcaster and abuse survivor Nicky Campbell has said.

The TV and radio presenter (pictured) was a victim of former Edinburgh Academy teachers John Brownlee, now 89, and Hamish Dawson – who died in 2009 – during his time at the school.

Brownlee was ruled by a court to have committed “cruel and unnatural acts” of physical and emotional abuse on pupils at the school between 1967 and 1991, but was deemed medically unfit to stand trial and was not sentenced to prison.

Speaking to the Daily Record newspaper, Mr Campbell urged the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (SCAI) to push for support for victims.

“The inquiry is giving people a voice, and that’s a good thing, and it will make recommendations aimed at preventing similar abuse in future, but it should also be looking at ways to repair lives already broken,” he said.

“We cannot say to people who are leading lives far removed from what they might have been that we now understand it was down to childhood abuse and not offer them help to recover.”

A spokesman for the inquiry said: “SCAI has heard a wealth of evidence from applicants about how they feel their lives have been adversely affected in the long term as a result of their experiences in care.

“From time to time the Inquiry commissions independent experts to carry out primary research, or research reviews, to inform the work of the Inquiry.”

Brownlee remaining a free man, Mr Campbell said, “doesn’t matter”, adding: “The old man is not John Brownlee any more. He is just a shell of the man he was.”

The broadcaster added that he feels “sorry” for Brownlee’s family, and understands the urge to “protect his honour, his legacy and reputation”.

Dementia – with which Brownlee suffers – is a “terrible thing”, Mr Campbell said, which he “wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy”.

Copyright (c) PA Media Ltd. 2024, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) James Manning / PA.