Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry: an update

On 22 October 2020, the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (SCAI) confirmed expenditure of £2.9m in the three months to 30 September 2020, taking total expenditure to £38.2m.

Closing submissions on evidence heard by SCAI during the phase 5 child migrant case study were made on 20 and 21 October. In November 2020, SCAI will return to phase 1 of its work by hearing evidence on the actions of central government on issues arising from the non-recent abuse of children in institutional care. These hearings will also explore the reasons why calls for a public inquiry throughout the period between August 2002 and December 2014 were turned down by Scottish Government.

Phase 6 of SCAI’s work is now scheduled to start in late January 2021. This phase is concerned with the abuse of children in boarding schools. The first part of this phase will focus on the background and context of boarding schools while the remainder of the phase will focus on investigation of specific Scottish institutions. Seven boarding school establishments are currently being investigated by SCAI and are expected to feature during evidence heard at phase 6.

SCAI has not yet made any announcement on phases of evidence beyond phase 6. Two matters covered in SCAI’s most recent newsletter are, though, worth noting in this regard:

  • Identification by SCAI of a further ten institutions for investigation, with a call for anyone with any relevant information to contact SCAI. The ten institutions comprise four Young Offenders Institutions, three local authority establishments, one Church of Scotland establishment and two schools.
  • Confirmation that SCAI is recovering a range of documents from all 32 Scottish local authorities in the context of examining the abuse of children in foster care, also with a call for anyone who was boarded-out or in foster care arranged by any Scottish local authority to contact SCAI.

To date, SCAI has published three sets of case study findings on evidence heard in phases 2 and 3 between November 2017 and February 2019 but has not yet made any recommendations.

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