Historical 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 historical child abuse.
The Independent Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry was established in 2015, with public hearings starting in May 2017. You can keep up to date with recent news at the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry's home page.
Human Rights Framework
In 2010, the Commission published the Human Rights Framework for Justice and Remedies for Historic Child Abuse. An easy read version is also available. Prof Alan Miller (Chair of the Commission 2009-15) has also given a talk about the accountability forum.
You can read the analysis of international human rights law relevant to historic child abuse in Word format, and read the research paper in PDF format.
Action Plan on Justice and Remedies
An Action Plan on Justice and Remedies was published in 2014. This followed an "InterAction” process that brought together survivors of abuse, religious leaders and representatives from Scottish Government.
The Action Plan 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.
The InterAction Group set up to steer the original InterAction process agreed to continue in order to monitor and review the progress of the Action Plan. Renamed the InterAction Plan Review Group, it includes representation from survivors, survivor support organisations, service providers, the Commission, the Scottish Government and CELCIS.
The InterAction Plan Review Group met for the final time in March 2022, following which it wrote to the Deputy First Minister summarising progress made and providing concluding comments and received a response to that letter.
An InterAction involves everyone affected by an issue coming together to share views and find practical steps forward that promote human rights. An InterAction process was established to develop an Action Plan on Justice and Remedies for survivors of historical child abuse. This process was developed and supported as a partnership between the Commission and CELCIS.
- Read the InterAction Principles, Terms of Reference, Frequently Asked Questions and Questionnaire launched to gather views.
- The first InterAction was held on 28 February 2013. Read a summary.
- The second InterAction was held on 20 June 2013. Read a summary
- An open meeting was held on 12 December 2013 to consider the draft Action Plan. Read a summary.
- An update meeting took place on 17 June 2014 for those involved in the InterAction process. At the same time, a report was published giving a summary of consultation responses to the draft Action Plan.
- An open event took place on 27 August 2014 to gather views on the issue of an Inquiry into historical child abuse. Read a summary.
- A final meeting of the InterAction group was held in October 2014. Read a summary.
- At this final InterAction the Scottish Government committed to taking forward several key elements of the Action Plan.
- In 2016 an internal evaluation report was compiled to consider the effectiveness from the perspectives of all key stakeholders involved.
Legal and policy work
- In 2021, the Commission submitted evidence to the development of the Redress for Survivors (Historical Child Abuse in Care) (Scotland) Bill. This followed our previous evidence in 2020. We welcomed the passing of the Bill in March 2021.
- In 2019, the Commission submitted our views to the Scottish Government's consultation on proposals for a financial redress scheme for survivors. We had welcomed recommendations for such a scheme in 2018.
- In 2017, we made a submission to the Justice Committee of the Scottish Parliament on the Limitation (Childhood Abuse) (Scotland) Bill. We supported the bill, which takes away one of the barriers that many survivors of historical childhood abuse faced when seeking civil justice.
- In 2017, we also prepared a paper on effective remedies for survivors who experienced abuse prior to September 1964.
- We previously made a submission to the Scottish Government’s 2013 consultation on proposals relating to the Civil Law of Damages on issues in personal injury.
- The Commission has also made submissions to the Scottish Government about introducing a National Confidential Forum on historical child abuse (NCF). Read our submission from 2012 to the original consultation, and our written evidence to the Scottish Parliament on the Bill to establish the NCF.
Help & Advice
Future Pathways offers help and support to people who were abused or neglected as children while they were living in care in Scotland.