Professor Alan Miller, chairman of the Scottish Human Rights Commission, has called for an independent investigation into crimes committed against children in the 1960s, 70s and 80s.
He has called on the Scottish Government to launch a “forensic” and “national, judge-led” inquiry into historical abuse in Scotland. He believes it is vital to find out what the state knew about abuse that went on at residential homes — particularly allegations of child deaths and the destruction of documents and records.
He said it should be “forensically focused on the real areas that haven’t been touched elsewhere by other inquiries. It would be cheaper and more efficient”. He added: “In particular it would have to look at the role the state played in any abuse and not just focus on the church. The state is the primary duty bearer to children to protect their interests — many of these children went through the system into these places of care where they were abused.”
His call follows investigations into allegations of abuse at St Ninians School in Falkland, Fife, and Coodham House in Ayrshire, both of which were run by religious orders.
The Scottish Human Rights Commission produced a “Framework for Justice” in June 2010 that many survivors regard as the only truly independent report into historic abuse in Scotland. Every other inquiry, including the Shaw Report in 2007, has been government driven and funded.
Miller called for a survivors’ support fund to be set up and the introduction of an apology law. He also wants the time bar for launching civil actions to be removed in these cases. He added: “The solution has to be survivor-centred and not what the government of the day think is best for survivors. Scotland has not done enough and hasn’t shown enough urgency. Too many decisions have been made for survivors without them being involved in that process. We can finally put that right.”