GCU research cited in Scottish Parliament

22 February 2017

GCU research cited in Scottish Parliament

Eleanor Russell.

Research conducted by Glasgow Caledonian University’s (GCU) Eleanor Russell was cited yesterday during a discussion on the Limitation (Childhood Abuse) (Scotland) Bill at the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee.

The Bill is currently making its way through the Scottish Parliament and aims to remove the limitation period for actions of damages in respect to personal injuries resulting from childhood abuse. 

Eleanor's research, Historic Abuse: The Hard Reality for Victims, was published in 2015 and looked at how existing provisions in the Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973 contain no effective mechanism to allow historic abuse victims to bring forward their actions in adulthood. Currently actions are required to be brought within three years of the date of injury, although there are a number of concessions to this, including that time does not run against children until they are 16.

The research was highlighted by David Whelan of the survivors’ group, Former Boys and Girls Abused in Quarriers Home, who was offering evidence to the committee.

Eleanor said: “I certainly believe that the law needs to be reformed to deal with the obvious voids which exist. It is unlikely that cases of suppressed memory, induced reticence and the like were even contemplated when the 1973 Act was enacted. Such cases have now emerged and the law needs to respond. Continuing to deny redress to such victims is simply adding insult to injury. 

“This is a bold proposal to remove limitation for in care historic abuse. It is something which many survivors have fought long and hard for.”

The Bill was introduced by the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Michael Matheson MSP, on 16 November 2016 and is currently at Stage 1 where it is being considered by the Justice Committee. 

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