Child abuse charity founder dies still fighting for justice


Frank Docherty and his siblings were abused while in care in Scotland in the 1950s

Susan Smith's photo

1st May 2017 by Susan Smith 1 Comment

The founder of charity In Care Abuse Survivors (Incas), Frank Docherty, has died aged 74 while still campaigning for justice.

Docherty’s death aged 74 has led other campaigners for victims of child abuse in state care to call for an interim compensation scheme while the Scottish Government continues its Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry.

They say there should be support for elderly victims like Docherty immediately as the inquiry is not due to report back until autumn 2019.

Docherty and his siblings were taken into care as a result of alcoholic parents when he was nine years old in 1954. They were housed at the Catholic-run orphanage Smyllum Park in Lanark where they suffered regular physical abuse including beatings and humiliation.

The orphanage is one of those specifically being investigated by the inquiry.

Other countries, such as Northern Ireland, have reparation schemes in place for the victims of childhood abuse in state-run care.

Deputy First Minister and education secretary John Swinney has commissioned the Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland to develop proposals for remedies for abuse victims. However, it is not expected to report until later this year.

Alan Draper, parliamentary spokesman for Incas, said Docherty helped found the charity 20 years ago and epitomised the struggle for justice for abused children.

He said: “The current government was finally forced into a public inquiry but continues to show a total disregard for the suffering endured by survivors in its refusal to grant interim payments to sick and elderly survivors. It needs to hang its head in shame.

“Frank will never be forgotten, not just by his family but by the many who had joined in the fight and by the hundreds of survivors he gave comfort to over the years by his compassion and the gift of his time, which he readily offered. Frank was a hero. May he rest in peace.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “This government has taken unprecedented steps to give a voice and support to survivors of child abuse in care, including establishing one of the widest-ranging public inquiries that Scotland has even seen.

“The Scottish Government is committed to consulting with survivor groups and other relevant parties, to fully explore the issue of financial redress.”


1st May 2017 by Gerry Magee

Frank was a thoroughly decent man who campaigned relentlessly for other survivors of abuse. It was an honour to know this good man and to stand side by side with him in his quest for justice. The world would be a better place with more people like Frank Dochert. May Frank's soul rest in peace.