Scotland’s child abuse inquiry to investigate ‘additional institutions’

The judge leading Scotland’s child abuse inquiry has said a “significant number” of additional institutions are to be investigated by her team.

The judge leading Scotland’s child abuse inquiry has said a “significant number” of additional institutions are to be investigated by her team.

The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry is currently looking at allegations of physical and sexual abuse at around 70 institutions, including former children’s homes and leading boarding schools.

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Last month it was announced that the time- frame of the inquiry, which has cost £13.9 million to date, would be extended indefinitely to allow more survivors to come forward and give evidence.

A TV advertising campaign, which hopes to encourage survivors in greater numbers, will be aired later this year.

In comments made at the closing of the latest stage of the inquiry last week, Lady Smith said: “I have previously explained we’re investigating the provision of care by 69 institutions.

“But you should be aware that we are in the course of, and will be, investigating a significant number of other institutions in addition to that 69, and details about them will follow soon.”

The inquiry has already heard evidence relating to alleged abuse at the former Smyllum Park orphanage in Lanark and four children’s homes run by the Sisters of Nazareth, which closed in the 1980s.

It will now look at institutions run by Quarriers Homes, the Aberlour Child Care Trust and Barnardo’s before turning its attention to homes run by male religious orders.

There will also be a case study looking at child migrant schemes, where children were sent to countries including Australia and Canada.

Smith told the inquiry: “We are committed to encouraging anyone with any relevant information to get in touch and our communications campaign continues.

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“To that end, you may be interested to know that one of the new initiatives we have arranged, and which you may wish to watch for, is a television advertising campaign, and that is due to run a little later this year.”

Campaigners have called on the inquiry to look at institutions such as Lennox Castle hospital near Glasgow which closed in 2002 and where it’s alleged children were experimented on as part of a drugs programme run by Porton Down research laboratory during the Cold War. Campaign group In-Care Abuse Survivors (Incas) has previously called on the inquiry to “review medical experimentation that was carried out on vulnerable children and adults without consent”.

Lennox Castle was one of four Scottish institutions alleged to have been involved in trialling drugs on children.

The Ministry of Defence has said it is “not aware” of such tests and has seen no evidence to back up the claims. Survivors have also claimed that six and seven-year-olds were tied to racks and given electric shocks.

Alan Draper, a spokesman for Incas, said the group would be “extremely disappointed” if Lennox Castle was not one of the institutions now being included.

“We’ve certainly been pressing for that and would hope it’s one of the institutions being looked at,” he said.

“Lennox Castle was notorious in the past for carrying out experimentation and we want places like that to be put in front of the inquiry.”

He added: “The purpose of naming these institutions – and presumably Lady Smith will do that – is that it encourages people to come forward.”

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Smith is expected to publish the first of a number of interim reports in the coming weeks, looking at institutions run by the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul, including Smyllum. The inquiry is due to resume in October after reaching the end of its second phase last week.

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