The inquiry established in Scotland to investigate sexual abuse of children in care has had a slow and somewhat painful start. It continues to face criticism because its remit is limited to children who have been in care. It has moved slowly and in the shadow of the inquiry in England and Wales.
It has now announced a new name – the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (SCAI). The change is to delete a reference to “historical” because following a decision to hear from victims who have been abused up to December 2014 it is not deemed an accurate term to use. The SCAI has also said that it is not yet ready to hear evidence from victims and survivors but, implicitly acknowledging there is a delay, it has put in place special measures for those who are elderly or seriously ill so they can give their testimony early.
Following on from the publicity about the Metropolitan Police Review (as covered in our blog) the IICSA has today issued a comment. It has said that it will continue to consider any allegations of cover-up and conspiracy and will review the adequacy of law enforcement responses to these allegations. Therefore it is likely that the IICSA will be considering the same matters as are being reviewed by Sir Richard Henriques. This continues an emerging pattern as seen from the investigations announced to date that the IICSA will not shy from focusing on organisations which have already been the subject of lengthy and detailed reviews. No organisation or individual should therefore assume that because they have undertaken their own review they will not be part of an investigation by the IICSA.
Written by Paula Jefferson, partner