Historic Child Abuse

Many people in Scotland are still suffering from the impact of abuse they suffered in the past. The Commission has been working since 2009 to promote effective access to justice and remedies for survivors of historic child abuse.

Action Plan on Justice and Remedies 

In 2013, a draft Action Plan on Justice and Remedies was published for consultation. This followed an "InterAction” process that brought together survivors of abuse, religious leaders and representatives from Scottish Government.

The Action Plan, which is now being taken forward by the Scottish Government and others, sets out two outcomes:

  • Acknowledgement of historic abuse of children in care and effective apologies are achieved.

  • Accountability of historic abuse of children in care will be upheld, including access to justice, effective remedies and reparation.   

InterAction Process

An InterAction process was facilitated by the Commission to support the development of the Action Plan on Justice and Remedies. Full details of the InterAction process are available on the InterAction website.

The first InterAction was held on 28 February 2013. Read the outcomes of the first InterAction.

The second InterAction was held on 20 June 2013. Read the outcomes of the second InterAction.

An update meeting took place on 17 June 2014 for those involved in the InterAction process.

A final meeting of the InterAction group was held in October 2014, where the Scottish Government committed to taking forward several key elements of the Draft Action Plan. Read the news story here.

Human Rights Framework

The InterAction process is based on a Human Rights Framework for Justice and Remedies for Historic Child Abuse. This was published by the Commission in 2010.  An easy read version is also available.

You can read the analysis of international human rights law relevant to historic child abuse in Word format. You can read the research paper in PDF format.

Related work

  • In 2017, the Commission made submission to the Justice Committee of the Scottish Parliament on the Limitation (Childhood Abuse) (Scotland) Bill. The Commission supports the bill which take away one of the current barriers to survivors of historic childhood abuse seeking civil justice.
  • The Commission previously made a submission to the Scottish Government’s consultation on proposals relating to the Civil Law of Damages: issues in personal injury.

  • The Commission has also made submissions to the Scottish Government about introducing a National Confidential Forum on historic child abuse (NCF). Read our submission to the original consultation  and our written evidence to the Scottish Parliament on the Bill to establish the NCF.

Help & Advice

In-care Survivors

Anyone who is or has been affected by historic abuse in care can access support, counselling and advocacy for survivors and their families by telephoning the In-care Survivors free helpline on 0800 121 6027. You can also contact Survivor Scotland through their website which has answers to some frequently asked questions.