The victims of abuse at three Moray children’s homes have been given an unreserved apology for the “abhorrent” treatment they suffered in their youth.
Evidence will be heard this week regarding the practices at three facilities in the region as part of the third phase of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry in Edinburgh.
Previously it examined establishments run by the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul and the Sisters of Nazareth, including one with 300 children in Aberdeen.
It has now turned its attention to non-religious and voluntary institutions run by Aberlour, Quarriers and Barnardo’s.
Investigators have put together case studies about the Aberlour Orphanage and Princess Margaret Nursery, which both closed in 1967, and the Aberlour Children’s Home in Keith.
They began taking statements from witnesses in spring 2016 and police say more than 360 people have made complaints of physical and sexual abuse run by the three organisations.
Some of the claims date as far back as the 1930s.
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During opening statements yesterday lawyer Steve Love read a statement which said: “To those who suffered abuse while in its care, Aberlour offers an unreserved apology.
“Aberlour considers the abuse of children to be abhorrent. It accepts there have been cases of abuse that have occurred.
“Aberlour recognises that this shouldn’t have happened.”
The first witness to give evidence yesterday was the daughter of a woman admitted to the Quarriers Village at Bridge of Weir in Renfrewshire when she was 10 years old.
She told how her late mother was once made to cover her head with a soiled bed sheet, having suffered from diarrhoea, and go outside otherwise naked to clean it.
The woman also said “walk of shame” punishments were used when children did not complete chores to standard or wet the bed.
A statement read out during the proceedings on behalf of the company said: “Quarriers acknowledges that children were subjected to physical, sexual and emotional abuse whilst in their care.
“Quarriers acknowledges that there were shortcomings in its historical policies and practices which did not prevent abuse from occurring.”
Three more witnesses will give evidence at the hearing today, with a further eight to share their experiences before the end of the week.
The inquiry before Lady Smith continues.