Hundreds of Sisters of Nazareth Catholic order complaints received

Lady Smith Image copyright Scottish government
Image caption Lady Smith is leading the inquiry

Police have received complaints from more than 300 people against the Sisters of Nazareth Catholic order which ran children's homes in Scotland until the 1980s.

The Scottish child abuse inquiry has begun hearing evidence in connection with the homes they ran in Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Ayrshire.

Police received 308 complaints against the Sisters of Nazareth.

They related to their child care homes between 1934 and 1984.

The complaints are about 194 people associated with institutions run by the Sisters of Nazareth.

'Never loved'

The first witness to give evidence during the latest phase of the inquiry told how nuns at Nazareth House in Aberdeen would nip her skin, beat the children and make them play in the playground with no shoes on.

"We were never loved, ever, by any of them," she said.

The woman, now in her 70s and who cannot be named, was at the Aberdeen home in the 1940s and 1950s.

She said she rarely saw her siblings and did not know her surname until she was 12 years old, having only been referred to by the nuns by her first name and a number.

She claimed the nuns would nip her skin if she tried to look for her brother in church and that they would hit youngsters over the knuckles with brushes.

'We were just as bad'

The witness told how one nun, whom she described in a written statement as a "witch", would make children get down on their knees in front of her if she caught them fighting and bang their heads together.

The witness also told of times when she herself would hit other girls "because it happened to us".

"We were as bad to the little ones as the nuns were to us," she said.

A solicitor for the Sisters of Nazareth repeated an apology to anyone abused in their care.

The inquiry led by Lady Smith, which began in 2015, continues.

This second phase is expected to continue until the summer.

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