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Thursday, 06 September 2018

Scottish child abuse inquiry announces latest care establishments to be scrutinised

Written by Hilary Duncanson

Residential establishments run by three male religious orders will be examined by the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry in a phase of public hearings announced to begin in summer next year.

Institutions run by the Order of Benedictines, the Marist Brothers and the Christian Brothers - orders within the Catholic Church - are to be scrutinised in what will be the fourth phase of hearings at the probe.

Five institutions - in East Lothian, the Highlands, Dumfries and Galloway, Ayrshire and Fife - will be under the spotlight when the hearings get under way in the middle part of 2019, the inquiry team has revealed.

Those establishments are Carlekemp in North Berwick and the Fort Augustus Abbey School in Inverness-shire, run by the Order of Benedictines; the Marist Brothers' St Joseph's College in Dumfries and St Columba's College in Largs; and St Ninians in Falkland, run by the Christian Brothers.

Inquiry chair Lady Smith has urged anyone with any relevant information about the orders and schools to contact the probe.

The inquiry is tasked with examining historical allegations of the abuse of children in care. It began taking statements from witnesses in the spring of 2016 and commenced public hearings in May last year.

It has already heard evidence on institutions run by the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul and the Sisters of Nazareth during earlier public hearings.

Phase three of the hearings will begin in October this year with an investigation of residential childcare establishments run by large-scale care providers Quarriers, Aberlour and Barnardo's, the inquiry team said.

Announcing the 2019 phase, chair Lady Smith said: "Please would anyone who has any relevant information about any of these orders and schools contact the inquiry.

"It does not matter whether you have already made a report to the police or to anyone else, and it does not matter whether or not you have been involved in any other investigation.

"You can still talk to us and we want to hear from you.

"I am well aware that it can be difficult and very emotional to talk about experiences in care and I want to take this opportunity to give an assurance that we have a dedicated witness support team here who will help and support anyone providing evidence to us."

She also said that investigations into establishments run by male religious orders, and other preparatory work, are "well under way".

"We have been pleased with the response to date," she said.

A later stage of the inquiry will examine the provision of care by the De La Salle Brothers, who ran a number of institutions in Scotland.

The inquiry can be contacted on 0800 0929 300 or emailed at talktous@childabuseinquiry.scot

People can also write to the Inquiry by post at SCAI, PO Box 24085, Edinburgh EH7 9EA.

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