Keil under scrutiny
Abuse probe into school which closed in 2000
A former Dumbarton boarding school is being probed by investigators from the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry.
Judge Lady Smith revealed that the inquiry is investigating whether historical abuse took place at fee-paying Keil School in Kirktonhill.
The boarding school – which closed 17 years ago – will be looked at along with 60 residential care centres as part of the inquiry into widespread abuse in Scotland.
Lady Smith – speaking at a preliminary hearing of the inquiry at the Court of Session in Edinburgh last week – also said that more than 100 locations where abuse is said to have taken place have been identified.
In a statement, she urged anyone with information about abuse to come forward.
She said: “So far, we have identified more than 100 locations where abuse of children is said to have taken place but we know that there are many more than that.
“The inquiry team is currently investigating over 60 residential care establishments for children in order to gather, from those who ran them and others, evidence about how children who were being cared for in a range of different settings and by a number of different types of care organisations were treated.”
Speaking of the part of the probe that relates to the local private school, she added: “The inquiry team is investigating boarding schools.
“Specifically, they are investigating Fettes College, Gordonstoun, the former Keil School in Dumbarton, Loretto School, Merchiston Castle School, and Morrison’s Academy (at the time it was a boarding school).
“Other boarding schools may also be investigated to obtain as full a picture as possible of the nature and extent of abuse in boarding schools.”
Prince Charles and Prince Philip both attended Gordonstoun as teenagers and former Prime Minister leader Tony Blair attended Fettes.
Lady Smith said that the inquiry needed the input of victims.
She added: “I want to reiterate the calls that have already been made to anyone and everyone who has relevant evidence to come forward.
“Whatever you have to contribute, we want to hear it.
“We are determined to find out the truth about what happened to children in care, where, how and why.
“We want to find out why the abuse was not prevented, why it was not stopped and what needs to be done to protect children in care in the future.
“That is what we are hear to do. We ask for the continued support of those who have already come forward and the help of those not done so.”
Lady Smith, who was appointed to the post in July 2016, said the inquiry had started taking statements from alleged victims last Spring.
She said that the purpose was to establish how children were able to be abused in care and what could be done to protect them in the future.
Lady Smith said the remit of the inquiry was to investigate the nature and extent of abuse of children in care settings in Scotland within “the living memory of any who provides information about it, up to December 2014”.
But she said it had no power to award “monetary compensation” and wasn’t a substitute for criminal proceedings.
Lady Smith also said that many potential victims of abuse were sent to Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
The inquiry is taking steps to trace them and encourage them to come forward.
Those who wish to contact the inquiry can telephone 0800 092 9300 or email talktous@childabuseinquiry. scot. They can alternatively visit the inquiry’s website at www. childabuseinquiry.scot.
Derelict Helenslee House on the former Keil School site, before redevelopment