Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry: an update

On 15 September 2020, the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (SCAI) plans to resume hearing evidence relating to the child migration case study. Evidence on Scottish Government knowledge of and response to abuse is planned for mid-November 2020.  A case study examining the abuse of children in boarding schools is expected to start in early 2021.

When established in October 2015, SCAI was to report to Scottish Ministers by October 2019. This deadline was extended before the current pandemic to “as soon as reasonably practicable” after then. An article in the 8 September 2020 edition of The Herald newspaper suggests that SCAI’s work could last to 2026. The newspaper references Scottish Government issuing a £4.5m tender notice for transcription of hearings at SCAI to February 2025 with a possible extension to February 2026. A SCAI spokesperson commented that “It should not be assumed there is a direct correlation between the length of a contract and the Inquiry’s timescale.”

To date, SCAI has issued three sets of case study findings but has not yet made any recommendations. In the period 1 April to 30 June, both 2020, SCAI spent just over £2m, taking its total expenditure to the end of June 2020 to just over £35.3m. The Herald forecasts £100m as SCAI’s total cost on the assumption that it runs to February 2026 with around £1m monthly expenditure.

SCAI continues to investigate over 100 individual establishments with an overall aim of raising awareness of the abuse of children in care (under 18) for the period “within living memory” to no later than 17 December 2014.

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