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Victims' fury as child abuse records altered

By Marion Scott, Sunday Mail, 25/07/2004

CHILD abuse victims are taking the Scottish Executive to court to stop them removing the names of alleged abusers from care files.

Government officials have spent six months deleting information from records of children abused at five List D Schools run by the De La Salle monks.

They also claim First Minister Jack McConnell and the Executive are removing the damning details before the introduction of Scotland's Freedom of Information Act in January.

The law will make information held by government bodies available to the public.

Thousands of children were sent to schools and homes.

Government agencies will have to account for failures to protect them from abuse.

Victims pursuing civil actions against their alleged abusers will now require court orders to have the blanked out details of their files revealed.

Scotland's top civil litigator, Cameron Fyfe, added: "We're seeking an immediate order to stop this censorship.

"It will be up to the court to decide. These records contain information vital to corroborate civil cases."

Peter Reid, of Men Against Sexual Abuse, said: "This is a conspiracy to hide the full horror of what happened."

The Executive last night defended the move.

Education Minister Peter Peacock said: "The files contain personal details. We have a duty to protect the privacy of these individuals.

"We're removing sensitive details so files can be made public. It can be traumatic for individuals to read records relating to their experiences."

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