Over 360 abuse complaints made against orphanages

23 October 2018, 15:16


More than 360 people have made complaints of physical and sexual abuse against people at orphanages run by three voluntary organisations in Scotland, police have said.

The announcement was made during the opening statements in phase three of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (SCAI) in Edinburgh on Tuesday.

It is now looking into the care given to those living in non-religious and voluntary institutions run by Quarriers, Barnardo's and Aberlour.

Quarriers and Aberlour apologised to people who suffered abuse while in their care, during opening statements.

Laura-Anne van der Westhuizen, representing Police Scotland, said investigations had been carried out relating to incidents dating back to the 1930s.

She added that 366 former residents had made complaints against 388 people.

A number of people have been convicted.

Kate Dowdalls QC read out a statement saying: "On behalf of Quarriers, I am instructed first to reiterate the unreserved apology that was offered to survivors of abuse on May 31 2017, at the outset of the hearings during phase one of this inquiry.

"Quarriers acknowledges that children were subjected to physical, sexual and emotional abuse whilst in their care.

"It is acknowledged that abuse occurred across generations at Quarriers Village.

"Quarriers acknowledges that there were shortcomings in its historical policies and practices which did not prevent abuse from occurring."

The inquiry is tasked with examining historical allegations of the abuse of children in care and began taking statements from witnesses in the spring of 2016.

Previous phases of the SCAI looked at residential establishments run by the Daughters of Charity (DoC) of St Vincent de Paul and now-defunct children's homes run by the Sisters of Nazareth.

The first interim report from the SCAI published earlier this month found children were abused, beaten and humiliated at Smyllum Park orphanage in Lanark, as well as at Bellevue House in Rutherglen.

After 20 days of evidence, chairwoman Lady Smith said youngsters lived in a climate of fear and coercive control at the two institutions run by the nuns of the Catholic order the DoC of St Vincent de Paul.

Issuing her findings on the DoC case study, Lady Smith said: "To children, 'home' should mean a safe place where they know they will find unconditional, loving care provided by adults they can trust; a place they will find light whenever life outside has grown dark; a place which does not fill them with fear; a place where they will not suffer abuse.

"The provision, by the order, of homes for the residential care of children in a way which routinely and consistently met that description would have been in keeping with their mission and with Christ's teaching.

"Sadly, I have, in the light of the evidence, concluded that that did not happen. I find that children were abused in both Bellevue and Smyllum, the two institutions that were the main focus of the case study. The abuse which took place was physical, emotional and sexual."

The inquiry before Lady Smith continues.