Second InterAction on Historic Abuse

On Thursday 20 June at a Human Rights InterAction event in Glasgow survivors of historic child abuse engaged with representatives from the Scottish Government, local authorities, religious bodies, care workers and others to prepare the development of an Action Plan for justice for the survivors.

This process, facilitated by the Scottish Human Rights Commission and the Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland, aims to ensure that the rights and responsibilities of everyone involved with historic abuse are understood and that agreement is reached on a framework of shared responsibilities and actions needed to enable justice to be done.

Read more about our work around historic abuse.

Professor Monica McWilliams, former Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and internationally recognised expert in conflict resolution and reconciliation chaired the event. Around 50 people attended and participated in the meeting.

This second InterAction was a follow up from an initial event in February. Over the past few weeks detailed meetings have also been held with experts, survivors, and stakeholders on specific questions such as the creation of a national survivors support fund, the introduction of an “apology law”, whether there should be a national inquiry and matters relating to access to justice including effectively addressing the problem of the ”time bar” in bringing civil actions.

Professor Alan Miller, Chair of the Scottish Human Rights Commission, said: “The meeting on Thursday was very constructive, and I’m pleased that the InterAction is making real progress towards achieving justice for survivors of historic abuse. We are now two-thirds of the way through this process and we are steadily moving towards reaching a shared understanding and consensus on these critical four areas, as well as other issues.

“There was discussion at the InterAction about the need for action to be taken quickly, as many survivors are getting older and some are in declining health. On that point the Commission has repeatedly called on the Scottish Government and Parliament to act swiftly to give survivors access to justice, and has highlighted to Ministers that there are actions they can take now to help and support survivors.”

The Commission will now draft a Framework for the Action Plan, and this will be published for the consideration of survivors and by those bodies with a share of responsibility to take appropriate action. It is anticipated that a further event will be held in the autumn in order to finalise the Action Plan.

Jennifer Davidson, Director of CELCIS said: “Justice for survivors of historic abuse in Scotland is well overdue. The dialogue process throughout the InterActions has been essential as it has ensured that the voices of people directly affected by abuse are heard, recognised and respected. This follows best practice in international human rights law.”

Help and support

If you or someone you know has been afffected by historic abuse SurvivorScotland can offer information and advice. You can contact Survivor Scotland through their website - Survivor Scotland site.