Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry – second volume findings

Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry – second volume findings

‘Successive governments failed to end abusive child migration policy.’

Lady Smith, Chair of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry said: “My findings in volume 1 alone show clearly that, however well-intentioned some of those who advocated for child migration may have been, the policy of child migration and the systems under which it operated were deeply flawed.

“The second volume of findings reinforces this view.

“What is particularly striking is the failure of successive UK governments to terminate the practice of child migration; these governments must bear the brunt of the blame for the continuation of child migration policies.

“Successive UK governments supported the practice. That support began with legislation that recognised the potential of child migration as a means of populating the Dominions. And pressure came from receiving countries, such as Australia, which badly wanted to increase its population with white “stock”.

“I reject without hesitation any notion that any conclusion that the policy was deeply flawed is the product of a view that distorts the past by viewing it through the lens of today.

“It is obvious that it was deeply flawed at the time.”

Over 100,000 children were migrated over a century, from the 1860s onward. It is not possible to say how many of them originated in Scotland, but well over 8000 children had been sent from Scotland to Canada by the 1920s and some were sent after that.

At least 370 children were sent to Australia from Scotland over significant periods both pre- and post-Second World War.

Click here for the full text of Lady Smith's statement and the Inquiry report.

Published: 28 September 2023