Scottish Inquiry, redress and civil proceedings

On 30 May 2019, the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (SCAI) published its second set of findings.

The findings follow evidence heard between April and July 2018 during part of Phase 2 of SCAI’s public hearings. The findings are on residential care establishments run by a religious order between 1933 and 1984.

In short, the detailed evidential findings allow Lady Smith, SCAI Chair, to reach the broad conclusion that “for many children the establishments were places of fear, hostility, and confusion, places where children were physically abused and emotionally degraded with impunity.”  Sexual abuse at one of the establishments was of a “particularly depraved nature.”

The order’s failure to keep adequate records of children in its care is found to be a “serious failure in care.”

No recommendations are made in the findings. Lady Smith will take the findings into account at a later stage when analysing systemic failures and deciding what recommendations to make.

On 4 June 2019, SCAI will start to hear evidence at Phase 4 of its public hearings. That will involve case studies on residential care establishments run by male religious orders.

On redress, the Scottish Government’s Advanced Payment Scheme has started to process applications and make pay-outs. The scheme opened at the end of April 2019. By the middle of May, five payments had been approved, with a further 36 applications under consideration at that time. This fast-track scheme is for survivors who have a terminal illness or are aged 70 or over. Payments are on a flat, ex gratia and discretionary basis of £10,000. The Scottish Government intend to consult later in 2019 on a wider redress scheme with a view to introducing legislation on that before the end of the present parliament in 2021.

At the end of April 2019, it was reported that three siblings had agreed settlement at a combined total of £1m after raising civil court proceedings against a religious institution following sexual and physical abuse at a residential care home over three decades. The perpetrator of the abuse had earlier been jailed for his crimes.

Separately, in May 2019, one MSP wrote publicly to Celtic FC urging the football club to accept responsibility and offer compensation to survivors abused by individuals associated with Celtic Boys Club following the criminal convictions in the past year of four men associated with the boys club. Another MSP has written to both Celtic FC and the Scottish Football Association seeking urgent meetings with a view to a full, independent, inquiry and, if necessary, the setting up of a compensation scheme.

Frank Hughes, Partner Fiona McEwan, Associate

Frank Hughes, Partner and Fiona McEwan, Associate


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