Scotland

Public inquiry planned on historical sex abuse in Scotland

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Media captionAbuse survivors Frank McCue, Jim Buckley and Frank Docherty have fought for years for an inquiry

A public inquiry into historical sex abuse is to be announced this week, BBC Scotland has learned.

The move, to be confirmed by Scottish government ministers, is supported by opposition parties.

The announcement is expected to confirm a timetable, although the precise terms of reference have yet to be drawn up.

The move follows a number of scandals involving the abuse of children in care, including at institutions run by the Roman Catholic church.

Image caption A placard carried by abuse survivors quotes a judge's unease at the treatment of abuse victims

BBC Scotland's home affairs correspondent Reevel Alderson said: "It is no secret that the Scottish government favours holding an inquiry into allegations of sexual abuse involving children.

"There's support from opposition parties too. It follows the scandal surrounding schools run by the Roman Catholic Church and other care institutions.

"But so far ministers haven't committed themselves to a timetable."

Later this week they will announce their intention to hold an inquiry, although it will only take place after the terms of reference can be worked out.

Public inquiry

This will include setting out the types of abuse which can be investigated, as well as the remedies Holyrood could put in place for those who have survived childhood sexual abuse.

Alan Draper, an academic who compiled a report for the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland on how to deal with historical child abuse, said he anticipated that this could be a "momentous week".

He said: "Clearly we have been fighting for decades and what we require is a full public inquiry preferably led by a judge with statutory powers, that's absolutely essential."

Mr Draper said he hoped the inquiry would bring a "cascade of change" and begin to reform the law so that abuse survivors would not be prevented from seeking justice.

He said he hoped the time bar that stopped historical cases coming to court would be set aside.

Image caption Alan Draper said he hoped the inquiry would lead to a cascade of change

Mr Draper added: "Also I hope they'll talk about a redress scheme for survivors so we can begin to repair the damage that's been caused to so many."

The campaigner said he hoped the inquiry would "engage fully with survivors" about the remit and membership "to avoid the chaos that's been caused down south".

Frank Docherty, the founder and honorary chairman of Incas (In-care Abuse Survivors), said: "We've waited 15 years and what we want is a full public inquiry into all the abuse, in all the institutions in Scotland."

Incas vice chairman Frank McCue, himself an abuse survivor, said: "The length of time these people have been waiting is ridiculous, a blind man could see that this needs a public inquiry and they keep putting out reports and excuses and it's just not good enough."

He added: "My main thing is to get justice for all these kids, name and shame every institution, every organisation that ran them and I don't care who they are - religious or otherwise."

Abuse survivor Jim Buckley told BBC Scotland: "I lived with it for nine years when I was in a home in Aberdeen, the abuse we suffered, there's never been any recognition of the fact.

"We've got to live with that day in and day out. You try and get on with your life but it's very hard."

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