SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT CSA INQUIRY WEB PAGE
Abuse inquiry: Legal action threat from ‘left out’ survivors
By Reevel Alderson
Legal action is being threatened to force the government to widen the remit of the inquiry into historical allegations of child abuse in Scotland.
Survivors group White Flowers Alba said it was seeking a judicial review because the inquiry will not look at their cases.
It claimed this was “unfair” as similar investigations elsewhere in the UK were looking at all instances of abuse.
The Scottish government said the inquiry must focus on a set time frame.
The public inquiry was ordered in December last year and followed allegations which emerged in a BBC Scotland investigation of institutional abuse at a former Catholic boarding school at Fort Augustus in the Highlands.
It is headed by Susan O’Brien QC and will take up to four years to report. It formally began its work last month.
But White Flowers Alba has said its remit was too narrow.
The inquiry does include:
- boarding schools such as Fort Augustus and council secure units,
- children in foster care in private homes
- young people in long term care such as hospitals
However, it does not include other places where abuse may have happened such as:
by priests in local parishes
in day schools such as council nurseries or primaries
in children’s organisations such as the Scouts or Army cadets.
Father Gerry Magee, a parish priest in Kilwinning in Ayrshire, is a spokesman for the survivors group.
He said: “It really is like a postcode lottery- if you happen to be in an institution which the inquiry acknowledges and recognises then they will inquire into your abuse but if not, if you were abused in a parish or any other institution – the Scouts or whatever or the church – then you’re left out of the inquiry.
“Surely that in itself is a massive injustice.”
The Scottish government said the child abuse inquiry was the widest it had ever ordered.
A spokeswoman added: “The initial call was for an inquiry into the abuse of children in institutional care.
“We have listened carefully to survivors of abuse and responded to their request for the scope to be widened.
“This is why the inquiry will now consider instances of the abuse of children in a wide range of care settings. For the inquiry to succeed and reach clear conclusions it needs to focus on an explicit remit within a set time frame.”
However, many survivors feel it does not go far enough. They said they had been let down and were now considering legal action.
Andi Lavery, an abuse survivor and spokesman for White Flowers, said: “We should be pushing at an open door on this. Scottish society shouldn’t be watching from the sidelines.
“They have to help survivors and prevent further survivors dying instead of leaving us to fight out this endless horrific battle of facing this on our own.” Found here
FATHER MAGEE From Kilwinning..
KILWINNING HAS THE MOTHERSHIP… Ooops I meant Mother LODGE
In Full Here
SURVIVORS have accused the Scottish Government of “becoming complicit in the cover-up of abuse” as a row over the remit of the inquiry into the historical child abuse intensifies.
In an angry email to Education Secretary Angela Constance, Alan Draper, parliamentary liaison officer for In Care Abuse Survivors, claimed many institutions would escape public scrutiny if the Government did not include non-residential settings such as church parishes, schools and children’s and youth organisations within the inquiry’s scope.
“When we made our submission to Government we asked that the inquiry should cover all organisations and institutions which had a duty of care for young people. Your Government, however, limited the remit primarily to residential institutions,” he wrote in his email sent on Monday night.
“This decision resulted in many victims, who had suffered grievous abuse, being excluded from the inquiry. We are of the view that this decision has enabled institutions and organisations, who have covered up criminal activity, to escape public scrutiny, and possible prosecution. The failure to extend the remit of the inquiry has effectively resulted in the Government becoming complicit in a cover-up of abuse.”
Draper’s intervention comes a week after it emerged court action is being threatened to force the Government to widen the inquiry. Another survivors’ group, White Flowers Alba, said it was seeking a judicial review because the inquiry will not look at all cases it was concerned about.
It also wants the inquiry to extend its examination of abuse to include incidents involving priests in local parishes, in day schools such as council nurseries or primaries, and in movements such as Scouts or Army cadets.
Draper raised concerns in his email about whether any extra funding would be given to Police Scotland to take on possible historical abuse cases referred to them by the inquiry.
He also hit out over what he claimed was the Government’s failure to properly address the issue of compensation payments.
“At meetings with officials about redress, it became clear that they had instructions to shut down any discussions about compensation or interim payments for sick and elderly survivors. This has caused considerable distress amongst survivors as they feel that they had been failed yet again by the establishment,” he wrote. “Instead, the Government offered victims a support scheme; whilst having some positives, it did not meet the aspirations, or reasonable expectations of survivors.
“What survivors want is for the damage to be repaired, for ongoing support to be put in place, and for reasonable compensation, not just for the damage caused but for the lost opportunities.”
The inquiry formally began on October 1 with chair Susan O’Brien QC calling for those who believe they have information to share to make initial contact. A spokeswoman said at the time the inquiry would “focus on an explicit remit within a set timeframe”.
Constance said consultations were also completed on plans to lift the three-year time bar for civil action in cases of historical child abuse since September 1964.
The inquiry, which could take up to four years and is Scotland’s biggest public inquiry to date, will cover allegations of abuse of children in formal institutional care including faith-based organisations, children’s homes and secure care as well as those in foster care, long-term hospital care and boarding schools.
It covers the period “within living memory’’ up to December 17 last year and will have the power to compel witnesses to attend and give evidence.
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “This is one of the most wide-ranging public inquiries Scotland has ever seen and part of a range of measures we are taking to support survivors of abuse. The initial call was for an inquiry into the abuse of children in institutional care. We have listened carefully to survivors of abuse and responded to their request for the scope to be widened. There are a wide range of survivors with differing views but many told us they did not want a scope that was so wide that it would never report in a reasonable timescale.” Found HERE
In Full Here
In Full Here
Survivors threaten to walk away from abuse inquiry
The group In-Care Abuse Survivors (Incas) said it was being treated with contempt by Ms Constance.
SURVIVORS of historical child abuse are threatening to boycott a public inquiry into the issue amid criticism of the education secretary, Angela Constance.
The group In-Care Abuse Survivors (Incas) said it was being “treated with contempt” by Ms Constance.
The national inquiry began its work late last year under the leadership of Susan O’Brien, QC.
However, many abuse survivors feel its remit is too narrow because it only covers those abused in residential care. There are also concerns about compensation payments and access to legal aid.
In a statement, Incas said: “Survivors have made repeated requests for a face-to-face meeting. Ms Constance has, however, continued to refuse to engage with survivors.”
The group said a letter from the education secretary in which she said she was “unable to meet at this time” had been the “final straw”.
The group added: “We are moving away from a ‘survivor-centred’ inquiry to one where survivors are merely witnesses to be heard and then excused.”
Another group, White Flowers Alba, said the inquiry was “deeply flawed and unfit for purpose”.
It said the inquiry’s decision not to investigate paedophile priests who carried out abuse outwith residential care settings was a “national disgrace”.
Labour MSP Graeme Pearson said: “Everyone agreed there was a need for an inquiry into historical cases of child abuse. If the [survivors] feel they are being ignored and walk away that would be very serious indeed.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Officials and ministers have engaged extensively with survivors and continue to do so, working with them to expand the specialist support available to them, to look at removing the restrictions preventing many from seeking legal address and setting the extensive remit for the statutory public inquiry.
“Survivors called for an independent public inquiry, ministers listened and established it with full powers to compel witnesses to give evidence.” FOUND HERE
AANGIRFAN Friday, 8 January 2016
SACK SNP’S ANGELA?
Angela Constance (left), Mike Russell, Fiona Hyslop.
A group who were sexually abused as childrensay that Angela Constance, Scotland’s education minister, is ignoring them.
The group are threatening to withdraw cooperation from the public inquiry into child abuse in Scottish institutions.
The group, In Care Abuse Survivors (Incas), says repeated requests for meetings with the minister have been turned down.
Alan Draper, Incas’ parliamentary liason officer, said: “The inquiry team, appointed by government, have questioned the need for representation for survivors, and seem to consider the role of survivors to extend only to the giving of evidence.
“We are moving away from a ‘survivor centred’ inquiry to one where survivors are merely witnesses to be heard and then excused.”
Child sex abuse survivors’ fury at Angela Constance ‘snub’.
Child abuse survivors slam ‘shambolic’ inquiry delays .
Scotland’s school pupils have been failed in eight years of SNP rule. FOUND HERE
Thirty-seven suspects are ‘persons of public prominence’, including four from world of TV, film and radio
Police Scotland has identified over three dozen people of ‘public prominence’ among more than 100 suspects investigated as part of its probe into historical child sex abuse.
The single force confirmed it has 58 separate investigations that meet criteria for Operation Hydrant, a UK-wide operation exploring alleged abuse by “prominent public persons” as well as that which has taken place in institutions.
The earliest recorded date of offending is 1947, whilst the most recent relates to two years ago, Police Scotland has confirmed.
Earlier the National Police Chiefs’ Council, which set up the operation, revealed more than 1,400 suspects, including politicians and celebrities, are being investigated by police forces across the UK.
As part of a further breakdown, Police Scotland said it has identified a total of 110 suspects, of which 80 are named. Twenty-six of the named suspects are dead.
The force said 37 of its suspects are classified as ‘persons of public prominence’, including four from the world of TV, film and radio and 33 who are listed as having a ‘significant public profile’ nationally or locally.
A total of 99 people are suspected of abuse within institutions with 45 institutions identified north of the border, comprising 17 educational institutions, 16 social care establishments, seven faith-based institutions, four leisure based clubs/organisations and one health premises.
Police Scotland Assistant Chief Constable Malcolm Graham, whose responsibilities cover major crime and public protection, said: “We are fully supportive and a key part of Operation Hydrant. Already co-operation between police forces across the UK has had real benefits for investigations here in Scotland.
“We have a number of live investigations which are ongoing and which it would be wrong to comment on at this stage. But we are liaising with police forces elsewhere in the UK on a number of inquiries at present.”
The single force launched the National Child Abuse Investigation Unit last month amid a growing number of increasingly complex child abuse investigations.
“The setting up of the NCAIU ensures all local policing divisions and all communities have access to specialist support,” added Graham.
“One of the roles of the NCAIU is to lead or support on large scale, complex, protracted or cross-border investigations or inquiries involving high-profile individuals or those who work in positions of trust.
“The challenges facing the police service to offer routes to justice for survivors of historic abuse while continuing to safeguard and protect children who are at risk of harm today, are massive. Police Scotland will remain committed to treating all victims of sexual abuse, regardless of the passage of time, with sensitivity and respect.” SOURCE
Final date – Terms of Reference Update 23 Dec 2015
The Inquiry’s Terms of Reference cover that period which is within living memory of any person who suffered abuse, up until such date as the Chair may determine but not beyond 17 December 2014.
The Chair has now confirmed that for a person who suffered abuse to give their account to the Inquiry about the experience of abuse, its impact and the effect on his or her family, the abuse must have taken place before the final date. The date is 17 December 2014. To see the Inquiry’s latest Press Release, please click here.
A Note setting out the reasons for that decision will appear on the website in due course.
Engagement with key groups
Since the Inquiry formally began work in October, several meetings have taken place with survivor groups, and representations have been made to the Inquiry about its Terms of Reference.
Among the concerns raised is that the only abuse we will consider is abuse which affected children in residential and care establishments, or children in foster care. We cannot look at abuse which took place in clubs or in the community generally. The Chair was asked to take that concern to the Cabinet Secretary, and she did so in a letter (which is published here). Decisions about the scope of the Inquiry’s remit are Scottish Government decisions, and not matters on which the Chair can or should comment.
Meetings have taken place, or have been arranged, with several organisations with an interest in the Inquiry. The door remains open for any interested groups to make representations to the Inquiry about how it should go about its task up until 31 January 2016.
Those who wish to make contact with the Inquiry can do so either by email, email@example.com or post, Historical Child Abuse Inquiry, PO Box 24085, Edinburgh, EH7 9EA
Other preparatory work
We have engaged with the Jersey, Northern Ireland, England & Wales Inquiries and with the Australian Royal Commission. We are analysing and considering all the advice which we have received and are very grateful for the help they have given us.
The Inquiry legal team are drafting the rules for giving evidence, document management, data protection, applications for anonymity, and similar matters. These will not be finalised or published until after 31 January 2016, as the Inquiry is open to considering views on how it should approach its work.
Support for survivors
We are actively considering the best arrangements for providing appropriate support for survivors before, during and after they give evidence. The Inquiry recognises that support has to be in place from the outset.
Update 30 October 2015
- Appointment of the Inquiry’s two panel members was announced, Mr Glenn Houston and Professor Michael Lamb
- They are to meet the Inquiry team and participate in strategy meetings on 9/10 November
- Various survivor organisations invited to meetings. One such meeting held and others planned
- Travel expenses for delegates to attend those meetings authorised
- Letters sent to local authorities, health boards and others, warning them not to destroy records, and inviting them to prepare to assist the Inquiry to identify relevant records when asked to do so
- Inquiry team met the Information Commissioner’s Office
- Inquiry team met National Records of Scotland
- Inquiry team met National Confidential Forum
- Inquiry team met Police Scotland to discuss retrieval of documents
- Inquiry team met Jersey Inquiry Chair and panel members in Edinburgh
Susan O’Brien has been a QC since 1998, and called to the Bar in Scotland in 1987. Before that, she was a solicitor for 6 years. She took two degrees at the University of York (BA Hons, BPhil), before obtaining her law degree at the University of Edinburgh. She has had a varied practice at the Bar, acting for the UK Government in many judicial reviews as standing junior counsel for the Home Secretary, and specialising in high value personal injury claims as a senior. She was a legal assessor for the General Teaching Council for Scotland in connection with disciplinary proceedings against teachers. She has extensive part-time judicial experience: as a Sheriff from 1995-1999, an Employment Judge from 2000 until 2015, and as a member of the Pensions Appeal Tribunal, which hears appeals from veterans. She has now ceased practice at the Bar and resigned all her appointments in order to become Chair of this Inquiry, apart from her role as the only Scottish member of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal. The Tribunal determines claims by people who consider that their human rights have been infringed by the police, the security services and other public authorities.
She was the legal Chair of a panel of three which investigated the death of a baby, and which produced the Caleb Ness Report in 2003. It resulted in the reorganisation of Edinburgh Social Work department and reviews of child protection practices by other agencies. In the 1980s she was on a steering committee which set up the Scottish Child Law Centre in Glasgow, and in the 1990s she served on the Board of Lothian Family Mediation. She has been a Governor of Heriot-Watt University for three years. She is married and has two daughters.
The Inquiry Team
Panel Member Glenn Houston
Panel member Professor Michael Lamb
Lead Senior Counsel Colin J. MacAulay QC
Senior Counsel James A. Peoples QC
Lead Junior Counsel John Halley Advocate
Secretary Julie-Anne Jamieson
Solicitor Andrea Summers
There are a number of other members of the Inquiry Team who provide legal and administrative support.
‘No prospect’ of justice from child abuse inquiry Wed 10 February 2016
Survivors of historical child abuse have “no prospect” of obtaining justice from a national inquiry unless its remit is widened, it has been claimed.
Campaigners will meet education secretary Angela Constance tomorrow to press for the scope of the inquiry to be widened to include paedophile priests who abused children outwith residential care.
The inquiry, which officially opened in October under the leadership of Susan O’Brien QC, is investigating the physical and sexual abuse of children in care up until December 2014.
But survivors’ groups have complained that by focussing on the abuse of children in care, the scope of the inquiry is not wide enough and will exclude those abused by members of the Catholic Church.
In a joint statement released ahead of their meeting with the education secretary, the groups White Flowers Alba and In-Care Abuse Survivors (Incas) said: “Survivors who suffered horrific criminal abuse at the hands of Catholic priests as children on Scots soil face no prospect of obtaining justice via the O’Brien inquiry because the inquiry has not been given the necessary powers.
“Ms O’Brien told survivors that this was a matter for the government to address. Ms Constance tells survivors she cannot interfere. This is despite the fact that she has the power under the Inquires Act.”
Survivors will also press the education secretary to approve interim compensation payments to ill and elderly abuse victims and will demand the SNP commits to lifting the three-year time bar on civil actions in its parliamentary manifesto.
Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland earlier, Ms Constance said: “Different survivors and different survivor organisations have different views, but I reported to parliament last year on the remit of the inquiry and what we’ve tried to do is strike the right balance. We want to ensure survivors don’t lose hope and the inquiry will report back within a reasonable timescale and be able to make clear and meaningful recommendations.
“Religious organisations and orders are included in the inquiry where they have looked after children in a residential capacity.”
Ms Constance said a draft bill on lifting the time bar would be introduced in the coming weeks.
Scot Govt: Support for child abuse survivors 11/02/2016
The Education Secretary has met adult survivors of child abuse to report on progress made delivering the commitments the government has made to them.Angela Constance confirmed that draft legislation to remove the three-year time limit on bringing civil cases to court – also known as time-bar – is on track to be introduced before the end of the current parliamentary session on March 24.Ms Constance and survivors also discussed what further work is needed to fulfil the government’s commitments to meet all of the recommendations of the Scottish Human Rights Commission Inter-Action Plan. The SHRC work, which began in 2009, called for:
- effective apologies and Apology Law
- National Confidential Forum testimony to become part of the national record
- a review of lessons from previous inquires
- removal of time bar
- national survivor support fund
- a public inquiry
Survivor groups will continue to have the opportunity to meet with Ministers from education, justice and health.
Ms Constance said:
“Since the publication of the SHRC recommendations we have engaged extensively with survivors and the services which support them. We have worked with survivors to expand and enhance the existing support available to them; to remove the restrictions preventing many from seeking legal redress; and in setting the extensive remit for the Statutory Public Inquiry.
“I am grateful to all survivors who have taken part in the consultations since this work began so many years ago and appreciate that there are a range of views on several issues of importance about how best we can support them. As announced last year, in setting the remit of the inquiry, we have sought to strike the right balance between widening the scope of the inquiry and the definitions of in-care and abuse from the original calls made. Throughout I have been determined to ensure survivors don’t lose hope that it will report back within a reasonable timescale.
“It is also important to recognise that this inquiry, unlike others, is looking at physical, psychological and emotional abuse, as well as sexual abuse, and can use its discretion to go further and consider medical experimentation, spiritual abuse, unacceptable practices and neglect. The inquiry must be sufficiently focused to make clear and meaningful recommendations that will avoid a repeat of the systemic, institutional failings that saw children abused by the very individuals who were entrusted by the state and others to care for them over an extended period.
“Through intensive engagement we know that survivors have a wide range of requirements and views on how we can respond to the call to action that the SHRC work gave us. Survivors have told us this is what they need and we are committed to seeing through on the commitments we have made.”
To keep survivors informed on how these recommendations are being delivered, the Scottish Government proposes to extend written updates used during the consultations on Inter Action and establishing the public Inquiry. Due to its independence, it will be for the inquiry to provide its own updates and engagement.
Priest slams ‘shameful’ abuse inquiry remit Thurs 11 February 2016
A CATHOLIC priest has attacked the Scottish Government for its “shameful” decision to exclude some child abuse survivors from a public inquiry into the issue.
Father Gerry Magee, chairman of the campaign group White Flowers Alba, spoke out following a meeting with education secretary Angela Constance at Holyrood yesterday.
Survivors want the Scottish Government to extend the remit of the inquiry to include all of those abused by organisations such as the Catholic Church, not just those who were abused while in care.
Fr Magee, a parish priest in Kilwinning, North Ayrshire, said there was “shameful lack of equality” across the UK, as separate inquiries in England and Northern Ireland are investigating abuse carried out by members of religious orders.
He said: “The Scottish Government and all those who have been responsible for care in institutions where abuse has taken place should really hang their heads in shame.
“I know that I speak on behalf of the majority of Roman Catholic people in this country, they’re ashamed of what happened to children under the care of priests. Children were abused – they were treated like dirt by their abusers. Many of them feel like they are still being treated like dirt by the government and the hierarchy of the Church.”
Fr Magee said it was “astonishing” Ms Constance had admitted speaking to senior figures in the Church about the inquiry, while not communicating with survivors.
George McBride, 63, who was abused as a schoolboy, accused the government of using “weasel words”.
He said: “I was abused at primary school and it messed my head up. There are thousands of us out there – we don’t fit in the remit of the inquiry.
“This [abuse] has monstrous implications for human beings because it messes with your head and your relationships and has a huge cost for society.”
The group In-Care Abuse Survivors Scotland (Incas), which represents survivors aged 32 to 92, said groups would engage with the inquiry.
Labour MSP Iain Gray, who attended the meeting with the education secretary, said: “Both Incas and White Flowers Alba made a very compelling case that the majority of survivors feel completely excluded from the inquiry.
“I understand the Cabinet secretary saying she doesn’t want to make the remit too wide, but this is a once-and-for-all opportunity to try to provide some redress and justice and it seems to make no sense to exclude so many from the process.”
Ms Constance said draft legislation to remove the three-year time bar on bringing civil cases would be introduced before the end of the current parliamentary session.
She said: “We have sought to strike the right balance between widening the scope of the inquiry and the definitions of in-care and abuse from the original calls made. Throughout I have been determined to ensure survivors don’t lose hope that it will report back within a reasonable timescale.”
Scots abuse victims keep up calls for inquiry scope to be widened
Victims say they will continue to press Education Secretary Angela Constance to increase the scope of an independent inquiry into childhood abuse.
Abuse inquiry leaves some child abuse victims ‘second class Herald Scotland
The biggest ever inquiry in Scotland will result in a two-tier system for child abuse survivors, according to victims’ groups. Campaigners made the claim after …
Survivors attack SNP over historical child abuse inquiry
Charity Group meeting for Survivors of Sexual and Physical Abuse by the Catholic Church.Pictured Survivor Andi Lavery
Sunday 6 March 2016
SURVIVORS are growing so despondent at the progress of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry that many say they feel like they are being abused all over again.
Survivors say the Scottish government is failing them, and feel the slow progress and limited remit of the inquiry is adding insult to the already very grievous injuries they have suffered, and believe they will never see the justice they deserve.
Andi Lavery, of Catholic survivor group White Flowers Alba, has even declared that he no longer wants to testify at the inquiry. “They offer us only further trauma and intrusion upon our continued suffering,” he said. Alan Draper of survivor organisation In Care Abuse Survivors (INCAS) has also said that survivors have “lost all faith in the Scottish Government’s ability to help them to achieve justice, accountability and redress”. In full here
https://www.childabuseinquiry.scot/news-and-updates/inquiry-launches-call-for-evidence/ 23 Mar 2016
The Chair of the Inquiry today launched the Inquiry’s first formal call for evidence, inviting survivors of abuse to come forward and share their experiences.
Those who suffered abuse as children in residential or foster care and who wish to provide evidence to the Inquiry are being asked to make contact by email, post or, from Tuesday 29 March, through a dedicated Freephone number, 0800 0929 300.
Survivors who provide evidence in this way will be known as “applicants”. The description “applicants” has been chosen because these are survivors who have applied to assist the Inquiry. The first private evidence gathering meetings will take place from late April.
Applicants will initially have the opportunity to have their evidence heard in private and recorded anonymously by experienced and specially trained lawyers. There will also be public hearings and names can be public if applicants want them to. Rules providing for applications for anonymity have also been published on the Inquiry’s website.
The Inquiry expects public hearings to begin in November 2016, with the first looking at the current provision of psychological support for abuse survivors in Scotland.
Ms O’Brien aims to provide an interim report on the first public hearings next year as that may enable the Inquiry to make recommendations that could improve the situation for survivors before publication of the Inquiry’s final report. It is likely that interim reports will be published for subsequent public hearings.
The Chair has outlined the arrangements for providing legal support for applicants and those accused of abuse and announced that she intends to grant core participant status to some survivor groups provided that they meet certain criteria.
Inquiry guidance and protocols can be found here
The Inquiry has also published its expenditure to 31 December 2016 here
CSA, SRA, SEXUAL ABUSE SURVIVORS CHARITY HELPLINES Scotland