John Swinney to meet child abuse survivors
John Swinney to meet survivors of child abuse in the wake of concerns about the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry
Deputy First Minister John Swinney is to meet survivors of child abuse today after some groups said they had lost confidence in the Scottish Government's inquiry.
The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry has seen two of its three panel members resign, and has been criticised by survivors groups.
Swinney, who is also Scotland’s Education Secretary, rejected claims that the government interfered with the inquiry in "the strongest possible terms".
He said he would "listen carefully" to the concerns at today's meeting after the Care Survivors group said the handling of the inquiry and accusations of government interference had been "traumatising" for abuse victims.
The inquiry was announced in December 2014, to investigate historical abuse of children in care at institutions, boarding schools, hospitals and in foster care.
It was formally set up in October 2015, with Susan O'Brien QC chairing, alongside psychology professor Michael Lamb and Glenn Houston.
However, Lamb resigned in June 2016, saying the inquiry was "doomed" by government interference.
O'Brien then followed one week later, making similar claims, but with Swinney announcing that moves were underway which could have seen her removed over "unacceptable" comments.
Swinney said he would seek to "reassure" survivors that work was underway to make sure "the inquiry remains on track".
He said: "I realise that the events of the last week have caused survivors great anxiety and upset. I can't undo that, but today I will have the opportunity to listen carefully to their concerns and hear what they feel is needed to move forward."
Police Scotland is also proposing that firearms officers can be sent to a wider range of incidents
Warm words are not enough for survivors of the Grenfell fire disaster who are still homeless and desperate
Audit Scotland reports "unacceptable" spending levels of public money at the Scottish Police Authority
While the overall number of recorded crimes fell from 284 instances in 2014/15 to 261 in 2015/16, the number of crimes involving hunting with dogs rose to its highest in five years