Child Abuse Inquiry: Appeal for evidence about boarding school abuse

Keil School by Robert Beacon Dumbarton’s Keil School is one of seven schools currently being  investigated by the inquiry team.Picture by Robert Beacon

By Democrat reporter

Victims of abuse at Scottish boarding schools have been urged to share their experience with the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry.

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Lady Smith, who is heading the investigation, has called for evidence from former pupils and staff.

Boarding schools will be the focus of the sixth phase of the inquiry, which is due to begin in July.

Earlier phases have found evidence of abuse at a number of children’s homes across the country.

  • Children in charity homes ‘did suffer abuse’
  • Orphanages were places of ‘threat and abuse’
  • Abuse of ‘utmost depravity’ at orphanages

The current phase, which is focusing on child migration, will resume in February.

Lady Smith asked for information from anyone with experience of abuse at boarding schools, or anyone with information about it.

She said: “If you have any such information, even if you have already made a report to the police, or been involved in another investigation, that doesn’t matter, you can still speak to us.

“I know that it can be difficult and very emotional to talk about such experiences, however, we have a highly experienced witness support team and they will help and support you throughout the process.

“We’ll do all we can to help you feel safe and secure when you speak to us.”

Image captionLady Smith has appealed to pupils and staff of boarding schools to come forward

At least seven boarding schools will be the focus of the latest phase of the inquiry.

The first part will look at the background and context for boarding schools, including inspections.

The second part will focus on specific institutions. The establishments currently being investigated and expected to feature in the case study are:

  • Fettes College, Edinburgh
  • Gordonstoun School, Elgin
  • Keil School, Dumbarton
  • Loretto School, Musselburgh
  • Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh
  • Morrison’s Academy, Crieff (during the time it was a boarding school)
  • Queen Victoria School, Dunblane

In December, children’s charity Quarriers admitted sending children abroad was “misguided and wrong”.

The organisation apologised to the thousands of children it sent to Canada and Australia, and to those who then suffered abuse.

More than 7,000 children were emigrated by the Quarriers organisation between 1872 and 1938.

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