Fury as charities fail to cough up a penny for Scots sex abuse survivors’ fund

Daily Record [Glasgow, Scotland]

December 12, 2021

By Gordon Blackstock

A string of wealthy groups have not contributed a penny to the Scottish Government’s new £300million Redress Scotland scheme.

Charities linked to historic sex abuse have failed to cough up a penny for a new survivors’ fund – despite bringing in nearly half a billion pounds every year.

A Sunday Mail probe can reveal the string of wealthy groups who have not contributed to the Scottish Government’s new £300million Redress Scotland scheme.

Just one in five non-public organisations probed by the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (SCAI) have so far offered funds.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said he would pursue “responsible” child abuse organisations “with vigour”.

But concrete offers amount to just £13.8million.

The SCAI is investigating nine Catholic orders who ran 24 schools where abuse happened.

Six of them – The Christian Brothers, De La Salle Brothers, Sisters of Nazareth, defunct Our Lady of Charity, Marist Brothers and the Benedictines – have failed to pay up.

Child abuse campaigner Dave Sharp
Child abuse campaigner Dave Sharp says the charities have a ‘chance to show compassion’

Their income was more than £13million last year.

In Ireland, almost a third of the €1billion-plus bill for its compensation fund was pledged by 18 religious orders, including the Christian Brothers. The Catholic order handed over €30million in 2019 and also offered property.

Child abuse campaigner Dave Sharp, who successfully sued the order after he claimed he was repeatedly raped by its monks at St Ninian’s residential school in Fife, said: “They have a chance to show compassion, open their hearts and wallets. Yet they have decided not to. It’s heart-breaking.”

Oxford-based De La Salle Brothers, whose UK income was £2.4million last year, said it would pay in the future.

Catholic umbrella group The Bishops Conference of Scotland, which didn’t run any homes but is being investigated by the SCAI over links to religious orders who did, said it wouldn’t be contributing as it was “outwith the remit of the scheme”. The Archdiocese of Glasgow, who ran abuse-linked St Andrew’s School in Dunbartonshire, has also failed to sign up so far.

The former St Ninian’s School

English-based Benedictines, which ran Catholic boarding school Fort Augustus dubbed a “haven for paedophiles” during an SCAI hearing, has also said it won’t be paying in.

The former St Ninian's School
The former St Ninian’s School

The Church of Scotland, whose income was £104million last year, ran four homes being investigated by the SCAI. It said it hoped to sign up to Redress in the future.

Other organisations not paying include adult disability charity Quarriers. The Bridge of Weir-based organisation, whose income was £42million last year, said it can’t afford it.

The Royal Blind School in Edinburgh, run by Sight Scotland, said it intends to join the scheme.

The Salvation Army said it had “established systems in place to address this”.

Other large charities who ran homes where abuse is alleged include the Sailor’s Society, whose UK income was £2.4million last year. They did not respond to a request for comment.