Scottish Government
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Survivors of historic in-care abuse

A new support service for adults who suffered childhood abuse in care and their families has been launched.

Scotland will have the first team of specialists in the UK offering help specifically for survivors of historic in-care abuse under a new £750,000 national framework of advocacy, mediation and counselling services.

The In Care Survivors Service Scotland: A partnership led by Open Secret includes:

  • A hub of specialist development workers able to link up with local services across Scotland to offer survivors and their families support, advocacy and confidential counselling
  • A national confidential telephone support line - 0800 121 6027 - providing support, guidance and advocacy to those who suffered abuse and their families
  • A new website and leaflet campaign highlighting the support available
  • Help for survivors to access the Criminal Injuries Compensation scheme and other legal services

Mr Ingram said:

"The past physical, emotional and sexual abuse of children in care in Scotland - perpetrated by the very people who should have been providing support - must never be forgotten.

"The system let these young people down in the most awful way and it is our duty to confront this stain on the nation's history of caring for children who could not live at home.

"I have been constantly touched by the courage and determination of in-care abuse survivors who have so eloquently set out their experiences to the Scottish Parliament.

"We have a duty to do all we can for these people which is why we're leading the way in specialist support with the package of measures announced today.

"We know it's time to demonstrate our commitment through actions and this pioneering framework will help ensure survivors get the help they need easily and confidentially."

A central team of specialist development workers will operate the telephone support line and also offer face-to-face outreach services to survivors across Scotland. The measures form part of SurvivorScotland, the national strategy which aims to improve services supporting those who have suffered childhood sexual abuse.

SurvivorScotland representative Helen Holland, who suffered abuse in residential care during her childhood, said:

"It was necessary to do something as a matter of urgency for in care and historical abuse survivors.

"Survivors the length and breadth of the country have had no central point to go for help until now and this new support and advocacy service will bring them some hope for the future."

Tom Shaw, who led an independent review into historical abuse of children in residential care in Scotland, said:

"This is really good news. My report highlighted the necessity for advocacy, mediation and counselling services, easily accessible and related to appropriate information and advice.

"I am delighted that the Scottish Government has responded so wholeheartedly to my recommendation and I welcome the vision, structure, arrangements and funding which are manifest in the In Care Survivors Service Scotland."

The development of an advice and information hub was announced as part of the Scottish Government's response to recommendations in a review of historical abuse in residential care from 1950-1995 by independent expert Tom Shaw.

The new phone line - which offers support and advice for anyone aged 16 or over who suffered childhood abuse in care - starts today.

Following a competitive process, Open Secret - a charity which supports teenagers and adults affected by sexual abuse - was appointed to lead the In Care Survivors Service Scotland. The Scottish Government has committed £750,000 to the project over the next three years.

New standards for record keeping of children in care are also currently being consulted on as part of the Looked After Children (Scotland) Regulations.

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