Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry: an update

Today, the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (SCAI) will resume hearing evidence as part of Phase 4 of its public hearing sessions.

Phase 4 is on residential care establishments run by male religious orders. Previously in this phase, opening statements and evidence were heard over nine days between 4 and 20 June 2019 relating to one establishment run by a particular order. Part of the evidence heard on 20 June was given by a convicted abuser currently serving a ten year jail sentence. A video link from Dumfries Prison to SCAI in Edinburgh was used for that purpose. The man concerned was accompanied by a solicitor when giving his evidence. He was advised in advance by SCAI’s Chair, Lady Smith, of his right not to answer any question where his evidence may incriminate him beyond his present conviction. He was also warned that any evidence given by him could be used in the context of any future criminal proceedings. It could also be used in future civil cases. The man continues to maintain his innocence. He explained that he has made an application to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission for his case to be reviewed.

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Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry: update and review

It was announced last week that the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (SCAI) will hear evidence from two convicted abusers. This evidence will be heard via video link from prison during mid-June and early July. It will form part of the current Phase 4 of SCAI’s public hearings into residential care establishments run by male religious orders. The two men involved were sentenced to five and 10 years in jail in 2016 for assaulting pupils at a school in the late 1970s and 1980s.

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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.

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Redress in Scotland and a call for inquiry into childhood abuse at Scottish state schools

Redress 

On 25 April 2019, an advance payment scheme opened for certain survivors of childhood abuse in Scotland. A link to this Scottish Government scheme is here. From 10am on 29 April 2019, a free telephone support line will be open for applicants on 0808 169 9740.

Key points of the scheme are that:

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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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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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Scottish update

A Scottish Government commissioned panel, the Scottish Human Rights Commission InterAction Action Plan Review Group, has reported to the Scottish Government that the state has a duty to ensure effective remedies for violations of human rights, including abuse in care. The panel has called for legislation on this by the end of the Scottish parliamentary session in 2021. It has also recommended that there should be an early payment scheme in place to benefit older survivors of abuse in residential care settings. The Scottish Government has undertaken to give these recommendations “early, detailed and sensitive consideration” and to “report back to parliament in due course”. Continue reading

Inquiry Updates – Scotland, England and Wales

Scotland

Phase 2 of the public hearings at the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry drew to a close last week and the Chair, Lady Smith, took the opportunity to review what it had achieved to date and to outline the next steps of the inquiry’s work. Continue reading

Impact of the Abolition and Amendment of the Law of Limitation in relation to non-recent child abuse – comparative experiences

Western Australia is the latest state to introduce laws which will enhance the prospects of success for claimants’ bringing claims for damages arising out of non-recent sexual abuse. Following the lead of all other states, apart from South Australia, legislation has just been enacted that will abolish the 6 year limitation period.   The recently concluded Royal Commission found that on average an individual waited 22 years to disclose their abusive experiences   The changes being introduced also provide a legal basis for suing institutions in the name of their current office holders and include provisions designed to overcome difficulties survivors may face in identifying a correct defendant.  Continue reading