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Social care bodies in Scotland implicated in historic child sexual abuse operation

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Police in Scotland have been told of 45 places, including 16 social care establishments, where historic child sexual abuse took place

Sixteen social care establishments in Scotland have been implicated in a UK wide operation looking into cases of historic child sexual abuse.

Police Scotland would not reveal details of the establishments other than to say they are part of 45 institutions which have been identified by Operation Hydrant.

It added it was carrying out 58 separate investigations into 110 individual suspects.

Of the 110 suspects, 37 are classed as ‘persons of public prominence’ including four which come from the world of TV, film or radio.

The earliest recorded date of offending is 1947, the most recent is 2013 and of the 110 suspects 26 are now dead.

Whilst the sheer scale of allegations is concerning we are heartened that people feel more confident to report abuse

As well as social care establishments Police Scotland has identified, but similarly not named, 17 educational and seven faith based institutions, four leisure clubs and one health premise.

Police Scotland’s assistant chief constable Malcolm Graham, major crime and public protection, said: "We have a number of live investigations which are ongoing and which it would be wrong to comment on at this stage. But we are liaising with police forces elsewhere in the UK on a number of inquiries at present.

“Police Scotland has one very clear focus: to keep people safe. Children are particularly vulnerable to harm and therefore one of our highest priorities has to be protecting them.

“Prevention, intervention and investigation of child abuse in all its many forms have been our priorities, working in partnership with other agencies.”

Alison Todd, chief executive of Scottish children's charity Children 1st, said it is important victims are given the right support.

She said: “Whilst the sheer scale of allegations is concerning we are heartened that people feel more confident to report abuse.

“The commitment and coordination demonstrated by our police forces on this operation, coupled with a greater awareness of sexual abuse amongst the general public, has created an environment that makes it easier for people to come forward.

“Reporting these types of crimes is very difficult for children – and for adults reporting historical abuse. They often fear they will not be listened to or will have no control of the situation. They must get the right support at the right time and that involves everyone working together.”

Across the UK there are 1,400 suspects in Operation Hydrant.

There has been an upsurge in allegations of historic child sexual abuse following the Jimmy Savile case in 2012.

Earlier this year Barnardo’s and Action for Children released reports to say there was no evidence that Savile had unsupervised access to children in their care in England.