Scotland judge urges abuse victims living in Australia to come forward

Investigators from an inquiry into child abuse that is underway in Scotland will be visiting Australia next month to speak with victims who were sent here as children between the 1940s and 1970s.   

After WWII, more than 3,000 children as young as three were sent to Australia, and housed in more than 30 homes approved by the Commonwealth Government for child migrants, Nine’s online digital news service has reported.

Most homes were run by voluntary and religious organisations and nearly all the children were from the UK.


The practice only ended in 1970. Both the UK and Australia have since made official apologies.

The Scottish inquiry is being chaired by High Court judge, Lady Anne Smith, who has appealed for victims living in Australia to come forward.

“The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry is undertaking a wide range of investigations,” a spokesman told nine.com.au.

 “These include children whose care was arranged in Scotland but who were sent overseas as part of the child migrant programs that operated during the 20th century.”

“An Inquiry team visited Australia last year to take evidence from child migrants and other witnesses with valuable information to assist with our work.”

“The full case study into child migrants will take place in late 2019. In further preparation for this, some members of the Inquiry team will return to Australia in March and will take statements from witnesses in various locations over a two week period.”

Scottish police have received complaints from more than 300 people against the Sisters of Nazareth order which ran children’s homes in the country until the 1980s, according to the BBC.

Nazareth House was founded in by nuns in London in 1857 and spread around the world. The first Australian branch opened in 1888.

No members of Nazareth House have been charged or convicted of abuse in Australia.  

However, Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse, which released its final report in 2017, gathered nearly 4000 stories from victims – including from branches of Nazareth House.

The report revealed 73 alleged Sisters of Nazareth perpetrators were subject to one or more claims of child sexual abuse.

Meanwhile it was announced last month compensation will be given to child migrants by the British Government after the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse in England. 

A total of $36,000 will be paid to each person, or their descendants- regardless of whether they suffered abuse.

Branches of the Child Migrants Trust can help with claims, which can be made from next month.

If any of your clients were child migrants from Scotland they or their families can contact the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry by emailing talktous@childabuseinquiry.scot, telephoning +44 800 092 9300 or writing to PO Box 24085, Edinburgh, EH7 9EA, UK.

This story was first published by ninemsn.

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