Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (SCAI): an update

Overview of present position

SCAI’s work, which started in October 2015, continues. SCAI is to report, with recommendations, to Scottish Ministers as soon as reasonably practicable after October 2019.

SCAI’s overall aim is to raise public awareness of the abuse of children in care (under 18) for the period “within living memory” of any person who suffered such abuse no later than 17 December 2014.

To date, SCAI has heard evidence in public during three phases. One set of findings relating to one part of one of the phases has been published. Further findings are anticipated shortly. Various expert reports have been commissioned and published.

The cost of SCAI to end 2018 was £19,737,688. Expenditure is published quarterly.

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Australia – The ongoing cost of Redress

On the 5 March 2019 the Australian Government reported that, to date, it has committed AUS$52.1 million to support Australians engaging with the National Redress Scheme for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse, through Redress Support Services.

It also announced five additional grants that are being offered to establish Redress Support Services in areas of specific need.

The new additional Redress Support Service providers being offered a grant to establish Redress Support Services in areas of specific need are:

  • ACT Disability and Carer Advocacy Service
  • Cape York Remote Area Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Care Advisory Association
  • Pilbara Community Legal Service
  • Survivors and Mates Support Network (SAMSN)
  • Blue Knot Foundation.

The services include remote and regional areas, services that support male survivors of institutional child sexual abuse, survivors with disability and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.

As a result, 39 Redress Support Services will be funded until June 2021.

The objective is that these Redress Support Services will offer survivors of institutional child sexual abuse an independent, trusted source of information and much needed support as they engage with the National Redress Scheme.

With the National Redress Scheme in Australia due to run until the 30 June 2028 one suspects this is only the start of the state funding that will be needed to support the estimated 60,000 to 65,000 applicants for redress.


moohan_sharonv2 Authored by Sharon Moohan, partner

Australia – Institutions that have not yet joined the Scheme

In establishing the National Redress Scheme the Australian Government was very clear that it expected every institution in which sexual abuse of children occurred to be accountable for that abuse and to join the Scheme and provide redress.

In fact the Australian Department of Social Services has a dedicated team who contacts Institutions that may have responsibility for abuse, strongly encourages them to join the Scheme, and provides information about how to do so.

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Scottish update

This week, the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (SCAI) has announced that on 21 and 23 January 2019 it will hear evidence, via video link from Australia, of witnesses whose evidence is relevant to the child migrant case study. Prior to migration, the witnesses were children in care in residential care establishments run by religious organisations.

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Children’s Services – in Crisis?

Despite IICSA opening its doors in July 2015 and including in its focus the work of local authorities children’s services the length and breadth of the country continue to be plagued with problems, probes, enquiries, intervention, financial crises, adverse press interest and funding difficulties. Continue reading