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Historical Child Abuse Ministerial Statement, 17/12/14 [S]

Ministerial Statement in the Scottish Parliament on 17 December 2014 from the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, Angela Constace, on Historical Child Abuse.

She said:

"On 11 November, my predecessor, Michael Russell, stood in this chamber and spoke of “the moral imperative” that compels all of us to face up to and act on the reality of historical abuse of children and the current risks of child abuse.

In his statement, Michael Russell laid out this Government’s commitment to move comprehensively and quickly on these issues. He reflected on the achievements of Survivor Scotland, the interaction process and the establishment of the national confidential forum, and he promised to return to this chamber to set out the Government’s view on whether a national inquiry into historical abuse in Scotland was the right way forward to meeting the needs of survivors. Today, I am making good on that promise.

National investigations such as the Shaw review and the Kerelaw inquiry have already been carried out into this issue, and it is important for any further inquiry to complement and build on previous work, while moving the issue forward. We must also be conscious of the work that is already under way with survivors. The Scottish Government has given its commitment to working to develop a survivor support fund and to fund an appropriate commemoration, guided by the views of survivors.

The Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs has invited key stakeholders from the legal sector to consider how the civil justice system can be more accessible and responsive to survivors of abuse as children in care. That will include consideration of the way in which the time bar operates, and we will continue to work with survivors to ensure the fullest understanding of the civil justice barriers that survivors face today.

Our dedication to considering all of the issues must match the seriousness of those issues. We have witnessed the pitfalls when an Administration rushes to make decisions about an inquiry without involving the people who will be most affected by it. We are not a Government that believes in haste at the expense of sense. We are committed to delivering on what we promise; the victims of abuse are owed nothing less than a thorough consideration of all factors before a decision is reached."

For full details see the Scottish Parliament Official Report 17 December 2014 which is available from the Scottish Parliament website.

Further Information

Scottish Parliament Official Report 17 December 2014