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Victims' fury at abuse decision

By Andrew Thompson & Lorraine Tinney, Greenock Telegraph, 24/07/2004

VICTIMS of child abuse at Quarrier's have claimed the Scottish Executive is failing them by refusing to order a public inquiry into the events at the home.

Two former residents spoke to the Telegraph after a government minister said there would not be an inquiry as rules over residential care have changed since the abuse took place.

Social work minister Peter Peacock also said the inquiry could reopen old wounds for many of the victims and could give the wrong impression of the Quarrier's organisation as it is today.

But David Whelan, whose abuser has been jailed, said an inquiry was needed to restore faith in the organisation.

He said: "The only thing that is going to clear up the whole process and allow Quarrier's to advertise as the Quarrier's of today is a public inquiry."

Mr Whelan, who helps run the in-care survivors group Incas, insisted the Executive should listen to the victims.

He said: "Would any other coun­try in the world allow an institution to have so many people convicted of crimes against children without set­ting an inquiry? The victims themselves are asking for a public inquiry."

Mr Whelan, who lived at Quarrier's from 1969 to 1975, added: "What has gone on in Quarrier's was in fact a complete failure of management.

"During the trials we heard children had reported both sexual and physical abuse to management, but some of the perpetrators were allowed to continue working."

Another former resident, who did not want to be named, added: "I don't agree with the Executive and it makes me feel quite angry there will not be a public inquiry.

"I feel let down by the system. I think people should know what happened there.

"There are victims out there who are still suffering. We are not getting justice, it's all getting swept under the carpet. There are many victims out there who are still living with their experiences, who haven't come forward because they are frightened."

In the wake of the Executive refusal to grant an inquiry Mr Whelan has enlisted the help of SNP justice spokeswoman Nicola Sturgeon, who is pushing for a Social Work Services Inspectorate.

Mr Whelan said: "The First Minister is on record saying the victims voices must be heard, but to date they have not been heard and the Executive are denying the chance for them to be heard."

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