The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry has formally invited survivors of abuse to come forward and share their experiences
The independent inquiry set up to investigate the abuse of children in care in Scotland has made its first formal call for survivors of abuse to come forward and share their experiences.
Those who suffered abuse as children in residential or foster care and who wish to provide evidence to the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry, are being asked to make contact by email, post or, from Tuesday 29 March, through a dedicated freephone number.
Susan O’Brien QC, who is chairing the inquiry, confirmed it would start hosting evidence gathering meetings in April. The inquiry has already heard evidence from some elderly and seriously ill people.
Those who wish to give evidence will initially have the opportunity to have their evidence heard in private and recorded anonymously by experienced and specially trained lawyers.
Public hearings will begin in November.
The people who were abused are entitled to answers
Launching the call for evidence, O’Brien said: “I am asking survivors to help us, by telling us what happened to them. There is no immediate deadline for this – you can come forward months from now, if you like. We will always respect your dignity.
“The people who were abused are entitled to answers. Where lessons can be learned, we will make recommendations for the future. This inquiry is not just for survivors of abuse in the past: it is also for some Scottish children yet to be born.”
The inquiry will cover the period of anything within living memory up to December 2014.
It has however been criticised for not being wide ranging enough. The inquiry will not hear evidence from those children who were abused in youth organisations, attending sports and leisure clubs, living with their natural or adoptive families or attending faith based organisations.
O’Brien said a key aim of the inquiry will be to look at recommendations for the future as well as learning the lessons of the past.
Its overall purpose is to raise public awareness of the abuse of children in care and will provide an opportunity for public acknowledgement of the suffering of those children and a forum for validation of their experience and testimony.
An interim report is likely to be published in 2017.
Those who wish to make contact with the inquiry can do so either by email, firstname.lastname@example.org, by post, Scottish Child Abuse inquiry, PO Box 24085, Edinburgh EH7 9EA or by telephone from 29 March onwards, 0800 0929 300.