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Action for Children
UK News

Catholic Church included in new Scottish abuse inquiry

The Scottish Government has announced a statutory public inquiry will be held to examine historical cases of abuse of children in care in the country.

Cabinet Secretary for Education Angela Constance said the full remit and appointments for the inquiry would be confirmed by the end of April but that it would be given the power to compel witnesses to appear and give evidence.

The inquiry comes after a number of scandals involving the abuse of children in care, especially at Catholic care homes.

Recent documentaries have featured allegations of historical abuse against priests at the Roman Catholic Fort Augustus School in the Highlands.

Ms Constance said: "We must have the truth of what happened to them [abuse victims] and how those organisations and individuals into whose care the children were entrusted, failed them so catastrophically.

"And to get to that truth we will be establishing a national public inquiry into historical abuse of children in institutional care.

"And to ensure justice is done, I can tell this Chamber that where crimes are exposed, the full force of the law will be available to bring perpetrators to account.

"I am grateful to the survivors of institutional child abuse who have taken the time to meet me and other ministers and who have spoken bravely and eloquently about why they consider a public inquiry is needed.

"Of course, as vital as their voices have been in getting us to this point - and they have been - I am also conscious that there are many more survivors who remain silent; as abused children they had no voice, no-one to cry out on their behalf at the appalling injustices they suffered while growing up, and today they await the right circumstances for their experiences to be heard.

"I sincerely hope the public inquiry will provide just such an opportunity for them."

An apology to all abuse survivors was made by then First Minister Jack McConnell in 2004.

According to the Scottish Catholic Observer the Church said it would support a Scottish Government inquiry into abuse in care homes in Scotland.

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