Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry: Appeal for evidence about boarding school abuse

gordonstoun Image copyright Gordonstoun
Image caption Gordonstoun is one of seven schools currently being investigated by the inquiry team

Victims of abuse at Scottish boarding schools have been urged to share their experience with the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry.

Lady Smith, who is heading the investigation, has called for evidence from former pupils and staff.

Boarding schools will be the focus of the sixth phase of the inquiry, which is due to begin in July.

Earlier phases have found evidence of abuse at a number of children's homes across the country.

The current phase, which is focusing on child migration, will resume in February.

Lady Smith asked for information from anyone with experience of abuse at boarding schools, or anyone with information about it.

She said: "If you have any such information, even if you have already made a report to the police, or been involved in another investigation, that doesn't matter, you can still speak to us.

"I know that it can be difficult and very emotional to talk about such experiences, however, we have a highly experienced witness support team and they will help and support you throughout the process.

"We'll do all we can to help you feel safe and secure when you speak to us."

Image copyright Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry
Image caption Lady Smith has appealed to pupils and staff of boarding schools to come forward

At least seven boarding schools will be the focus of the latest phase of the inquiry.

The first part will look at the background and context for boarding schools, including inspections.

The second part will focus on specific institutions. The establishments currently being investigated and expected to feature in the case study are:

  • Fettes College, Edinburgh
  • Gordonstoun School, Elgin
  • Keil School, Dumbarton
  • Loretto School, Musselburgh
  • Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh
  • Morrison's Academy, Crieff (during the time it was a boarding school)
  • Queen Victoria School, Dunblane
Image copyright Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry
Image caption The inquiry's witness support team work with those who come forward to share their experiences

In a statement, a spokeswoman for Gordonstoun said the school had already written to all former students urging them to engage with the inquiry and that they hoped Lady Smith's appeal encouraged more to do so.

The statement added: "Gordonstoun is fully committed to helping the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry in any way we can as part of this important Scotland-wide project to understand how children were looked after in the past and to learn lessons for the future."

In December, children's charity Quarriers admitted sending children abroad was "misguided and wrong".

The organisation apologised to the thousands of children it sent to Canada and Australia, and to those who then suffered abuse.

More than 7,000 children were emigrated by the Quarriers organisation between 1872 and 1938.

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