This is the latest draft of this document,
received from the review team 24/05/2006.



1950 – 1995


Participation Process  ::  Back  ::  Contact Details






The Minister for Education and Young People has appointed me, Tom Shaw, as an independent expert responsible for conducting a review related to the historical abuse of children and young people in residential schools and children’s homes during the period 1950 – 1995.  My remit requires me to:


The systemic review’s purpose, therefore, is to focus on ‘systems’ rather than individuals.  It is important to find out why systems did not always ensure children and young people’s right to protection from harm.




Many people who have survived abuse they experienced while living in residential care as children want to understand why the abuse was allowed to happen.   In 2002 a survivor of abuse submitted a public petition to the Scottish Parliament, which petition generated a full parliamentary debate in December 2004.  At that time, the First Minister, Jack McConnell, formally apologized in the Scottish Parliament to adults who had been abused while living in residential settings as ‘looked after’ young people within Scotland.  The Minister for Education and Young People, Peter Peacock, as well, committed to various initiatives, including a review of the regulatory requirements and systemic factors responsible for monitoring those requirements during past years.  This undertaking led to my appointment in the autumn of 2005.




In conducting this review, I intend to gather information that will allow me to develop a historical overview of systemic contributors to the abuse of young people ‘looked after’ and living in residential settings.  Working within the period 1950 to 1995, I will focus on assessing and analyzing the adequacy of monitoring strategies for promoting children’s well-being and ensuring their safety.  It is my intention to review documentary records and to hear the views of people with direct and indirect knowledge related to this topic.    I will prepare and submit a written report on the review’s outcome, together with recommendations, to the Minister for Education and Young People, Peter Peacock.




Tom Shaw, Independent Expert:


Tom was the former Chief Inspector of Education and Training in the Department of Education in Northern Ireland until his retirement.  He was involved in developing and opening up the inspection process to include lay persons on inspection teams and, in conjunction with the Chief Inspector of Social Services in Northern Ireland, initiated joint inspections of schools which provide residential accommodation for children and young people.  He introduced the inspection of child protection and pastoral care in all schools, ensuring that children contribute to the evidence upon which inspection findings are based.


Nancy Bell, Researcher:


Nancy worked for a Children's Commission in British Columbia, Canada where she was responsible for managing complaints made by children and/or their representatives about public services and about breaches of rights of children in care.  Prior to this work, she conducted reviews of child deaths considered unusual or suspicious. This work entailed identifying systemic issues that may have contributed to the children's deaths and making recommendations to the private and public sectors involved.  In addition, she has extensive experience conducting investigations into allegations of abuse of young people living in residential settings under government care in Canada.


Nancy is a PhD candidate whose research focuses on the experiences of young people, living in residential school, with making complaints and complaint processes.  She has a broad-based research interest in children's rights, which she combines with a specialized focus on children and youth participation in informal and formal complaint processes.




If you have information that you would like to provide to this review, please contact our office.







We would like to hear from people who have direct or indirect knowledge about residential care for young people from 1950 to 1995.  As our review focuses upon the monitoring of young people’s well-being and safety, we have a particular interest in receiving information on this topic.




For individuals or groups who would like to participate in our review, it is possible to send information or to request a meeting. 


The options available to you include:


•  Telephone

•  Email

•  Written statement

•  Video

•  Tape recording

•  Individual meeting

•  Group meeting

•  Advocacy representation



If you contact us by telephone or email:

If you contact our office by telephone, you may speak to the person answering or leave a message.  We will attempt to return any messages within two to three days.  If you contact our office by email, we will acknowledge your email within two to three days.  Our response time may take longer depending upon what is required.


If you send a written statement, video or tape recording:

If you send a written statement, video or tape recording, we will acknowledge receipt of your information by letter or email.  The information you provide will be treated as confidential and kept securely (see below). 


If you request an individual or group meeting:

You may request an individual and/or group meeting with Tom Shaw or Nancy Bell.  Whether such a meeting is possible will depend upon the type of information you would like to provide.  If a meeting takes place, each person will need to agree upon a mutually convenient time and location.



If you would like your advocate to provide us with information:

We realize that some people may prefer to have a representative, or advocate, submit information to our review on their behalf.  In this situation, we ask that you send us a signed and dated letter verifying that you have agreed to have an advocate represent your views. 




The information you provide to us – in whatever form – will be treated in the same way. 

The information and your name will be considered confidential unless you explicitly waive your right to confidentiality and are fully informed as to any possible consequences.  We shall store the information you provide, in whatever form, securely, in a secured building with limited access.  Tom Shaw, Nancy Bell and any other person subsequently employed by the Review are the only people who will have access to the information you provide in its original form. 


We may use your information to inform our review and, with your consent, we may want to quote certain information in our final report.  If information you provide is used directly in our report as a quotation, it is our intention to provide you with a pseudonym and to remove all geographic locations that may possibly allow for further identification. 

The report will be provided to the Minister of Education and Young People and may become available as a public document.  We do not intend to give the information we obtain from you to any other person or to use the information for purposes that extend beyond our review, unless you make a specific request, provide your consent or unless the information that you provide relates to the commission of a crime which we consider ourselves obliged to report to the police.


We will protect and store any information you may provide in accordance with data protection laws.


If you participate in meetings:


We anticipate that a meeting with you will take approximately one hour.  If you consent, we would like to tape-record our discussions. You may designate parts of the discussions as ‘for background only’ so that the information you provide us will not be quoted in written material. 


Your participation in a meeting is voluntary and during the meeting you may withdraw or chose not to speak to us at any time without any consequence or explanation.  If you do withdraw from the meeting, at any time, the information you provide will be destroyed and not used in our report.  You will receive written confirmation, if you wish, of our action.




Limits to confidentiality exist if there is any information revealed during our discussions that requires the protection of health, life and safety.  This limit may also exist if we have a legal obligation to produce such information.




If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact our office and we will respond to any questions or comments you may have.


Historical Abuse Systemic Review

23 Walker Street

Edinburgh, Scotland


Phone: 0131 225 6736

Fax: 0131 260 5379

Email: systemic.review1@btinternet.com



Tom Shaw                                                    Nancy Bell

Independent Expert                                       Researcher

General Information  ::  Home  ::  Top  ::  Participation Process