As we reported on this blog on 28 July 2016, Lady Smith, a Scottish Judge since 2001 and, from 2011, a Scottish Appeal Court Judge, is the new Chair of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry. Unlike the English and Welsh Inquiry, the present remit of the Scottish Inquiry excludes non-State institutions. Hence, for instance, those alleging abuse in religious settings in the community, in contrast to State-provided care institutions, are not covered at present by the Scottish Inquiry.
Pressure is, though, building to extend the Scottish Inquiry’s scope. Alan Draper, spokesman for In Care Abuse Survivors (Incas) was reported, in the 31 August 2016 Herald newspaper, as saying that “we put forward (to the Deputy First Minister of Scotland, John Swinney) a powerful argument about extending (the scope of the Scottish Inquiry).” He adds, though, that he is “not hopeful”.
Mr Swinney described his recent meetings with survivors and their representatives as “constructive”.
Separate from the Scottish Inquiry, Mr Draper also mentioned that “victims of abuse (are) waiting to see if legislative plans will include changes to the law to remove a statutory time limitation which prevents many of them from seeking legal redress.” We have previously reported on the draft Limitation (Childhood Abuse) (Scotland) Bill. That has yet to be introduced at the Scottish Parliament but the MSP’s return to there from their summer recess on Monday 5 September 2016. We will keep a very close eye on any developments and will be sure to update this blog accordingly. Please, therefore, “watch this space”.
Siobhan Kelly, partner