The Scotsman 31st Aug 2016

A group of child abuse survivors are to
have their case heard by the English inquiry into the issue amid claims
they face “no prospect of justice” in Scotland. White Flowers Alba,
which represents about 30 adults abused in childhood, has been awarded
“core participant” status by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex
Abuse, which is being led by Professor Alexis Jay. The group, whose
members were allegedly abused by Catholic priests, said it had been
failed by the Scottish inquiry, which covers only those abused while in

A spokesman said:
“We had a cut-off date to make ourselves known to the English inquiry,
so to protect the interests of our members we applied. “We face no
prospect of justice in Scotland. We had to act. Had we had an equitable
inquiry in Scotland, this would not have been necessary.”

The group’s members include those
allegedly abused at the former Fort Augustus Abbey school in the
Highlands. While the Scottish inquiry does include abuse in care
settings such as Fort Augustus, White Flowers Alba said its members had
more faith in the English inquiry to investigate properly. Confirming
the group’s core participant status last month, the inquiry’s then
chair, Dame Lowell Goddard, said that while her terms of reference only
extended to England and Wales, the men had been abused by institutions
with their headquarters south of the Border.

She said: “The
individual members of White Flowers Alba whom I have designated as core
participants experienced sexual abuse in Scotland by members of the
English Benedictine congregation, or, in one case, by clergy from a
Catholic order whose headquarters are in England. While the individuals
experienced sexual abuse in Scotland, which falls outside the inquiry’s
terms of reference, the alleged institutional failure relates to an
institution based in England and Wales.”

Survivors have repeatedly called for the
remit of the Scottish inquiry to be extended to cover organisations
which had a “duty of care” to children such as the Catholic Church and
the Scouts. Deputy First Minister John Swinney has agreed to look at the
issue, but there is growing frustration that the Scottish Government
has not acted quickly enough.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “This
government has taken unprecedented steps to give a voice, and support
survivors of child abuse in care, including establishing one of the
widest ranging public inquiries that Scotland has ever seen, with full
powers to compel witnesses to give evidence. “The Deputy First Minister
has agreed to consider the scope of the inquiry remit, taking account of
the feedback from a number of survivor representatives with differing
views and the need to maintain confidence that it will report back
within a reasonable timescale with a sufficient focus to provide
tangible answers for how we keep children safer today and in the

Victims repeat call for wider remit  31 aug 2016

of historic child abuse have urged deputy first minister John Swinney
to extend the remit of a troubled inquiry, but fear the Government is
set to ignore their pleas.

At a series of meetings with three
groups representing abuse survivors, Mr Swinney said there were
arguments against extending the reach of the inquiry, which is headed by
a judge, Lady Smith, after Susan Boyd QC quit earlier this year.

included expense, the length of time the inquiry might take, and the
fact that little new will be learned from increasing the ground the
Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry will cover. However most victims feel there
is a fundamental unfairness about the inquiry’s remit, which will cover
abuses suffered by children who were in state care, but not, for
instance, those abused in religious settings in the community.

Alan Draper, spokesman for In Care Abuse Survivors (Incas) said: 

“we feel the current
remit excludes large numbers of survivors who were abused and we put
forward a powerful argument about extending it. But I am not hopeful,
because Mr Swinney seemed preoccupied by the fact that he might be
criticised, or it might take another year. It is not about what will be
learned or how long it takes. This has consequences for each and every
victim. If he doesn’t extend the remit, it will be not just
disappointing but devastating for most survivors.”

Mr Draper said victims of abuse were
also waiting to see if changes to the law to eliminate a time bar which
prevents many of them from seeking legal redress will be included in the
Scottish Government’s legislative plans.

Andi Lavery, of the group White Flowers
Alba, which represents many victims of abuse within the Catholic Church,
said members had welcomed the chance to tell Mr Swinney about their
cases and the problems childhood abuse was still causing them on a daily

However he added: “Thee question is will he do anything to address our concerns? I feel like we are banging our heads against a brick wall.” 

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said the meetings with survivors and their representatives had been constructive.

He added: “We
talked about outstanding issues in connection with the statutory public
Inquiry and the roll-out of a new national survivor support service to
give essential help and assistance to those who in the past were abused
by the very people they should have been able to trust. As we work to
ensure that survivors across the country get improved support and easier
access to justice, it is important to Ministers to continue liaising
with them and to hear directly from them. I am grateful to the many
survivors who have taken part in meetings, who have written in, or who
have engaged in the consultations we held in recent years to ensure we
get the right approach to supporting them and removing the barriers they

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