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Human chain of torment

By Marion Scott, Sunday Mail, 26/09/2004

HUNDREDS of abuse victims are to chain themselves to the Scottish Parliament next week in silent protest at being denied a public inquiry.

The former care home residents will mount their demo as Education Minister Peter Peacock defends the decision. He will appear before the Public Petitions Committee on Wednesday after pressure from campaigners. Frank Docherty, of campaign group In Care Abuse Survivors, said: "We're chaining ourselves together to show the link between all victims, whether they come from a De La Salle School, Nazareth House, Barnado's, Quarriers or a local authority home.

"Scotland still has a problem, and it won't be fixed until politicians take action. Abuse has a huge impact on society, even though it happened decades ago."

Child abuse sufferer Chris Daly, 40, of Glasgow, represented victims at the Public Petitions Committee.

He spent years in Nazareth House in Aberdeen, where he claims he was beaten and mentally tortured. He said: "We have been betrayed by the Executive.

"While other countries have tackled this subject, Scotland has tried everything it can to sweep its "dirty family secrets" under the carpet.

"We've been denied justice through the courts. For many, a public inquiry would have been our only chance to have our story told."

Labour MSP Janis Hughes said: "The minister needs to answer what he is going to do." More than 1000 civil action cases are waiting to go through the crowded civil court system.

Cases are hindered by time-bar rulings, with many denied Legal Aid.

Peacock said: "The needs of survivors were at the forefront of our minds while considering calls for an inquiry. We also had to consider whether an inquiry would lead to further changes than those which have already been put in place."

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