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Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry to examine actions of government in relation to non-recent child abuse

The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry will begin hearings in November which will examine the actions of central government in relation to issues of non-recent abuse of children in institutional care.

The Inquiry will consider the actions of central government between the lodging of Petition PE535 with the Public Petitions Committee of the Scottish Parliament in August 2002, and the announcement by Scottish Ministers in December 2014 of a public inquiry.

Petition PE535 called “for the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Executive to (a) make an inquiry into past institutional child abuse, in particular for those children who were in the care of the State under the supervision of religious orders and (b) make unreserved apology for said State bodies and to urge the religious orders to apologise unconditionally.”

The Inquiry will examine reasons why calls for a public inquiry throughout the period between August 2002 and December 2014 were turned down by the Scottish Government.

The hearings will take evidence from witnesses in person and remotely via video link at the Inquiry’s hearing venue on the 3rd floor of Rosebery House, 9 Haymarket Terrace, Edinburgh EH12 5EZ, subject to ongoing public health guidance and physical distancing measures.

The Inquiry Chair is Lady Smith, who was appointed a Judge of the Supreme courts in 2001 and was appointed to the Inner House in November 2012.

The Inquiry was set up to investigate the abuse of children in care in Scotland or where the care was arranged in Scotland.

The terms of reference include the nature and extent of abuse of children in care in Scotland, the failures of those with legal responsibility to protect children in care from abuse, whether the failures have been addressed already and whether further changes are needed.

The Inquiry started its work on 1 October 2015. This phase of evidence is expected to conclude in early December.

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