National inquiry into historical child abuse needs a survivor-centred approach, Commission tells Scottish Government

The Scottish Human Rights Commission has made a submission to the Scottish Government’s consultation on a public inquiry into historic child abuse in Scotland.

Stressing the importance of ensuring that survivors are central to the design, constitution, and operation of the inquiry, the Commission underlines the need for it to reflect the principles of Participation, Accountability, Non-discrimination and equality, Empowerment and Legality (the PANEL principles).

The Commission’s submission also calls for the Scottish Government to continue work in other areas around historic abuse to achieve justice for survivors, and not to delay this progress while awaiting the conclusion of the inquiry.

Read the submission here.


  1. Commission member Professor Kay Hampton has made a declaration of interest in relation to this consultation arising from her membership in a personal capacity on the National Confidential Forum. Accordingly, this submission should not necessarily be taken to reflect her views.
  2. The Scottish Human Rights Commission is an independent public body with a statutory remit to promote and protect all human rights for everyone in Scotland. The Commission is accredited as an ‘A Status’ national human rights institution within the UN system.
  3. 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. Following the InterAction process, a National Action Plan for Victims of Historic Abuse was produced.
  4. The Scottish Government’s consultation on a statutory national Inquiry into the historical abuse of children in care in Scotland is available here.
  5. Scotland’s National Action Plan for Human Rights (SNAP) was launched on 10 December 2013. SNAP brings together a wide range of public bodies and civil society organisations, as well as national and local government, to work on improving human rights in people’s everyday lives, building a better human rights culture and fulfilling Scotland’s international human rights obligations.