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27/10/14 16:50

Support for survivors of abuse

Support fund to be developed and commemoration of victims confirmed.

Education Secretary Michael Russell today confirmed that the Scottish Government would lead the development of a support fund for survivors of abuse while in care.

Mr Russell spoke with survivors of historic abuse in Glasgow along with Minister for Public Health Michael Matheson, Aileen Campbell, the Minister for Children and Young People and Roseanna Cunningham, Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs.

The event was hosted by the Scottish Human Rights Commission and brought together representatives from the Scottish Government, local authorities, religious bodies, care providers and others to finalise an Action Plan to deliver justice for abuse survivors.

Mr Russell said:

“The InterAction process led by the Scottish Human Rights Commission and the Centre of Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland has identified ways that can make a real and positive difference in the lives of survivors. Much of that work is already underway and I would like to add my thanks to all of those who contributed to the InterAction process to help us ensure that the support needed is available to those who have suffered in care.

“The Scottish Government is committed to working with survivors and other key stakeholders on how a fund could work, and is committed to funding an appropriate commemoration to victims who suffered abuse in care. We have begun work to learn from support fund models in other countries, to look at the lessons learned from these models and how that experience and knowledge could influence how we develop a scheme that meets the needs of Scottish survivors.

“The National Confidential Forum, set up following the Shaw review into abuse of children in care expects to start taking applications for its hearings before the end of 2014. Here survivors will be able to ensure that their account of events will be acknowledged and heard. Reports of the Forum will be published as part of the national record.

“The significant changes to the care system in Scotland are a testament to the perseverance and bravery of the survivors here today in campaigning for justice, but we must always be vigilant in preventing abuse while acknowledging the suffering caused and helping the healing process as best we can.

"I have also committed today to considering whether we need a further inquiry and what form that might take to create a better national understanding, place the facts on the record and bring the opportunity to move on for many survivors. We are listening closely to views on all sides of the debate and shall bring forward the Scottish Government's view shortly.”

The InterAction followed two previous events where an Action Plan for recognising and supporting survivors was developed.

As well as developing the fund and commemoration, the Scottish Government will continue to work with survivors and others to take forward the recommendations from the plan, including consideration of an Apology Law; making the National Confidential Forum reports part of the national record; making the Civil Justice system accessible to victims.

Notes to editors

More information on The Scottish Human Rights Commission’s InterAction work to seek justice for survivors of child abuse while in care and be found here.