Historic abuse inquiry is “major step forward in securing justice for survivors”, says Scottish Human Rights Commission

The Scottish Human Rights Commission has today welcomed the Scottish Government’s commitment to hold a statutory public inquiry into historic child abuse.

Professor Alan Miller, Chair of the Commission, said

“The Commission welcomes the Education Secretary’s announcement today of a national inquiry into historic child abuse. This is a major step forward in securing justice for survivors of abuse and provides a clear opportunity to ensure accountability for past abuses and to learn lessons to prevent future abuse.

“The Commission is pleased that the commitment to holding a national inquiry now means that all key elements of the National Action Plan on Justice and Remedies for Victims of Historic Abuse are being taken forward. This, along with work to develop a survivor support fund, resolve issues with the time-bar on civil cases, establish a suitable commemoration, support for an Apology Law and action to ensure consistency in investigation and prosecution of alleged perpetrators, represents significant progress and is testament to the commitment shown by all involved in the InterAction process behind the Action Plan’s development.

“Survivors of abuse – those whose rights have been breached and who the state failed in its duty to protect – must be at the heart of of the process of developing the inquiry’s terms of reference and its future work.”


  1. Between 2012 and 2014, the Scottish Human Rights Commission and CELCIS (the Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland) facilitated an InterAction process between survivors and a wide range of those with responsibilities or interest in securing justice for victims of child abuse. The InterAction process was based on human rights principles outlined in SHRC’s Human Rights Framework for Acknowledgement and Accountability for Historic Child Abuse, published in 2010.
  2. Following the InterAction process, a National Action Plan for Victims of Historic Abuse was produced.