Up until June 2017 people looking to make a church child abuse claim in Scotland were prevented from doing so by strict time limits that prevented them from securing monetary compensation.
However, following many years of lobbying by survivors and their families, the situation has now changed. The Limitation (Childhood Abuse) (Scotland) Act 2017 now means that if you or someone close to you has suffered sexual, mental or physical abuse at the hands of the Church or other religions organisation you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation to help ensure that you receive some level of recognition and financial justice.
Church Child Abuse
Thompsons' specialist child abuse survivor team works in partnership with some of Scotland's leading abuse charities, including Wellbeing Scotland, to advance the rights and interests of those who have suffered from sexual, mental or physical abuse that has occurred within the context of a religious organisation.
This means that we are able to assist in the claims of those who have been abused in any of the following settings:
- A church, mosque, synagogue or other religious building
- A religious camp, course, afterschool or weekend club
- A residential care home run by a church or religious order
- Any religious-group organised care, sports, activity or pastoral setting
Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry
In 2018, the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (SCAI) issued a damning interim report on the actions of those working with and for the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent De Paul at Smyllum Park and Bellevue children's homes. The Inquiry chair, Lady Smith, concluded that, "For many children who were in Smyllum and Bellevue, the homes were places of fear, coercive control, threat, excessive discipline and emotional, physical and sexual abuse, where they found no love, no compassion, no dignity and no comfort."
She added, "For some children, being hit was a normal aspect of daily life."
The SCAI investigation is now looking into abuse at numerous residential homes run by the Church of Scotland, as well as secure units, school hostels, private schools and foster care facilities. Thousands of children may have been affected.
Thompsons' specialist survivor team is committed to ensuring justice for all those affected and has called on the Daughters of Charity to formally acknowledge the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry findings, to issue an apology to survivors, and admit the civil financial claims against them.
Making a Claim
Thompsons' specialist survivor team is committed to helping you approach the claims process on your own terms, working at a pace with which you feel comfortable.
From our first point of contact, whether over the telephone, via email or face-to-face, we can arrange a meeting to discuss the essential details of your case and the options available to you. We have offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Peebles and Galashiels and can arrange to meet you at a location suitable to you. We can also meet with you alongside your support worker to ensure that you are fully supported along the legal journey.
If you decide to proceed with a case, we will look to gather witness statements, police reports and medical and psychological evidence. Should the case go to court, you can rest assured that it is unlikely that you will have to testify in person.
Contact our Team Today
Thompsons specialist Survivors Team is currently helping clients make child abuse claims against more than ten religious organisations. We are able to help even in cases where the abuse happened many years ago, the perpetrator is dead and even in cases where the police and CPS are not taking the case forward: you could still be entitled to financial compensation.
Our specially trained team takes a trauma-informed approach in all contact with you – we are committed to acting sensitively while also remaining vigilant in the pursuit of justice. We also ensure that you do not have pay anything up front when pursuing a claim with our solicitors in Scotland.
If you are a survivor or support a survivor who has been sexually, physically, or mentally abused please call us today or contact us via the online form.