Survivors of historical child abuse have accused First Minister Nicola Sturgeon of “walking by on the other side” after she declined their request for a meeting.
The group In-Care Abuse Survivors (Incas) said the Scottish Government had “promised much, but delivered little” since setting up an inquiry into the abuse of children in care last year.
Survivors want the remit of the inquiry extended as well as a manifesto commitment from the SNP to remove a three-year time bar on bringing civil actions.
Labour MSP Iain Gray said: “By excluding the majority of survivors from the inquiry, dragging their feet on the removal of the time bar and repeatedly refusing to meet with survivors to discuss their concerns, the Scottish Government is jeopardising its own inquiry. Source Scotsman
Alan Draper, of In Care Abuse Survivors Scotland (Incas)
One of the largest groups representing those who claim they were abused by the people who were supposed to protect them said education secretary Angela Constance had repeatedly let them down.
In Care Abuse Survivors (Incas) said they had lost all faith in the Scottish Government, because of a failure to lift the time bar currently preventing many victims from seeking civil redress. In addition the group said the government had had to go back on promises to review the law regarding people abused before 1964 who can never take legal action as the law stands.
Campaigners are also angry that the government has refused to extend its inquiry to cover people abused in non-residential settings.
Alan Draper, Incas parliamentary liaison officer said: “The Education Secretary, Angela Constance, promised to have regular contact, but ignored survivors for eight months, and then produced a pre-prepared press release , which bore no relation to the discussion that had taken place. Survivors felt that this heaped contempt on top of inaction.”
He claimed Justice minister Paul Wheelhouse had promised to engage in discussions to remove the time bar, but was only planning to deliver a draft bill before the Scottish Parliament elections.
“Paul Wheelhouse [ Justice] promised to engage in discussions to remove the Time Bar. The government did produce a consultation document, but then failed to involve survivors in the outcome,” Mr Draper said.
Meanwhile Nicola Sturgeon had refused to meet survivors, he added. “The First Minister appears indifferent to the concerns of survivors, or has not been properly briefed by her ministers.”
“The government have promised much , but delivered little, and the First Minister. Nicola Sturgeon, is now ‘walking by on the other side’.
He said Incas wanted to see a specific commitment to changing the law included in the SNP manifesto.
“INCAS’s oldest member has waited over 80 years for justice, and is being failed again by an uncaring government,” he said. “Survivors have lost hope and have lost trust in the government.”
Michael Murray, 73, was abused physically and sexually when he was 11, in an approved school in Gartmore, by Stirling in the 1950s. As his abuse claim dates prior to 1964, he is unable to take civil action over the case, and having already undergone a heart bypass and having been diagnosed with vascular dementia, he knows he may never see justice.
He said he remained likely to take part in the inquiry, but was angry about its failings.
Scottish Labour Opportunity spokesperson Iain Gray said: “When Scottish survivors of abuse say that the First Minister is ‘walking by on the other side’ then the time has come for her to stop and reconsider her government’s treatment of their concerns.
“By excluding the majority of survivors from the inquiry, dragging their feet on the removal of the time bar, failing to address the concerns of pre-1964 abuse survivors and repeatedly refusing to meet with survivors to discuss their concerns the Scottish Government is jeopardising their own inquiry.”
Mr Gray said the restriction of the inquiry to only people abused in residential care compared unfavourably with more far-reaching inquiries in other countries. “Survivors feel the Scottish inquiry falls far short of the justice being provided in England and Wales, and that is not good enough”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “This inquiry is one of the widest ranging public inquiries that Scotland has ever seen with full powers to compel witnesses to give evidence. We have already widened the scope to include a wide range of care settings and all instances of abuse (not just sexual). Ministers have been determined to ensure survivors don’t lose hope that it will report back within a reasonable timescale.
“Scottish Government officials and Ministers have engaged extensively with survivors and continue to do so. We have consulted key stakeholders, including survivors, on the issue of time bar.
The Education Secretary met with survivors on February 11, 2016 and the Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs will meet with them on March 14, 2016.
The Bill will be published after this meeting at a launch event hosted by the Moira Anderson Foundation. We have always said there are considerable human rights challenges with cases before September 1964 but we will continue to work to look at other types of solutions.
“We are one of the only countries in the world to have dedicated funding for survivors of abuse. In addition to the inquiry, we are providing an extra £13.5 million funding for in care survivor support alongside the services we already provide across Scotland.” Source Herald
STRONGER FOR SCOTLAND?
That’s a joke.. Stronger for Scotland?
Aye…. Unless you are a survivor or a child?!!
EXACTLY WHO’S SIDE ARE THE SNP ON?
BECAUSE IT SURE AS HELL AIN’T THE PEOPLE OF SCOTLAND’S
I stand with the survivors
The SNP are as corrupt as the rest
THEY ARE COVERIN UP THE PAEDOPHILIA