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Institutional care forum seeks evidence

This news post is about 9 years old

​Forum wants to hear survivors' testimonies about institutional care in Scotland

Scots who spent time in institutional care as children are being urged to have their experiences heard as part of a National Confidential Forum.

The independent body is inviting participants from across Scotland to come forward and share their experiences, whatever they are, in a safe and non-judgemental setting.

The testimonies of participants will help the forum understand what happened to children in the past and show what can be done to make things safer for children in care, today and in the future.

Survivors have been calling for a public inquiry into historical child abuse in care homes for almost 15 years and the announcement one would finally be held was made by Angela Constance in December, weeks after being appointed education secretary.

The forum is set up as an independent body, funded by Scottish Ministers and hosted by the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland but falls short of a judicial inquiry demanded by campaigners.

It started taking applications and holding hearings last month and is expected to run until August 2017.

Who can give evidence?

Anyone who spent time in institutional care as a child can come to the forum.They must be over 16years old and no longer in care.Institutional care means residential care orthe health service.

The service could berun by a local authority, health board, a private provider or a charity and caninclude:

  • A children’s home
  • A short or long term hospital stay in a children’s ward
  • A residential unit
  • A boarding school at public or private school
  • A school trip or summer school

Project manager, Ben Lukins, said: “If you have been in institutional care as a child in Scotland, this is your chance to be heard.

“Sharing experiences can be therapeutic and importantly, the information given by participants will contribute to making positive changes to children in care today and in the future.

“By taking part in the forum, participants will enable us to build a picture of the legacy of institutional care in Scotland, which will form part of a national record.

“For some people coming to us, it might be the first time they’ve shared their experience with another person, which can be a heavy burden to carry through life if it was negative.

"There are also people who have had very positive experiences of being in care.

"We want to hear from these people too.

That is why we would encourage anyone who was in care to come forward and take this opportunity to share their experiences, so we can gain as full a picture as possible of what worked and what didn’t.

“Being heard and acknowledged will help ensure that the same mistakes aren’t repeated.

“We need to ensure that children in institutional care in Scotland are safe and have the opportunity to thrive.”



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