Proposals to create a National Confidential Forum (NCF), which will provide an opportunity for adults who were placed in institutional care as children to recount their experiences, will be scrutinised by the Health and Sport Committee.
The Committee has today (21 February) launched a call for evidence to get views from organisations and individuals on the forum’s creation.
The proposals to create an NCF are included in the Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Bill. The Justice Committee will lead on scrutinising the other proposals set out in the legislation which aims to put victims’ interests at the heart of on-going improvements to the justice system.
Convener of the Health and Sport Committee Duncan McNeil MSP said:
“These proposals seem particularly timely and it is vital that a forum is provided for adults who were placed in care to recount their experiences in a confidential setting.
“However, given the importance of this issue to those that have been in care, it’s imperative that we get the detail of this proposal right.”
Deputy Convener of the Health and Sport Committee Bob Doris MSP said:
“Our Committee wants to hear from stakeholder organisations, charities and those that have been in care on what they think of this proposal.
“The views of those directly affected by the creation of this forum will be vital in ensuring that the Committee effectively scrutinises this important piece of legislation.”
Key proposals in relation to the NCF include:
- Providing a means for adults placed in institutional care as children to describe in confidence experiences of that care, including abuse;
- Acknowledging testimony at NCF hearings or by written or other means;
- Protecting the testimony of people who participate in the NCF from the threat of defamation and disclosure;
- Setting out arrangements for the NCF to be hosted by the Mental Welfare Commission, while safeguarding the operational autonomy of both; and
- Identifying any patterns and trends in the experiences of adults placed in institutional care as children, and making recommendations about policy and practice which the NCF considers will improve institutional care.
The deadline for the call for evidence is 09 April.
The Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Bill implements the EU Directive 2012/29/EU in relation to minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime, which was adopted in October 2012.
The NCF is based on the pilot Time to be Heard, which allowed residents of Quarrier’s Village to recount their experiences of being in care to a confidential panel.