Children’s homes run by nuns were places of fear and confusion

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Lady Smith

By Democrat reporter

Children’s homes run by religious order Sisters of Nazareth were “places of fear, hostility and confusion”, the chair of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry has ruled.

Lady Smith has published her findings into the institutions, which operated in Aberdeen, Cardonald, Lasswade and Kilmarnock between 1933 and 1984.

She found that children were physically abused and emotionally degraded by priests and nuns.

Lady Smith said: “There was sexual abuse of children which, in some instances, reached levels of the utmost depravity.

“Children in need of kind, warm, loving care and comfort did not find it. Children were deprived of compassion, dignity, care and comfort.”

Evidence was heard last year from 39 witnesses who described their experiences in Nazareth houses, while two other people spoke about a family member.

An additional 29 witness statements were read to the inquiry.

Lady Smith rejected any suggestion some witnesses may have colluded to present fictitious accounts of their time in care.

The second interim report follows last year’s findings of historic child abuse at the Smyllum and Bellvue homes, which were run by nuns from the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul.

The inquiry has also taken evidence relating to homes operated by the charities Quarriers, Aberlour and Barnardo’s and will publish its findings at a later date.

The next stage, due to start in July, will look at the St Ninians home at Falkland in Fife which was under the control of the Congregation of Christian Brothers.

Evidence from all the chapters of the inquiry will be taken into account when Lady Smith produces the final report featuring her recommendations.

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