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Historical Abuse Systemic Review: Residential Schools and Children's Homes in Scotland 1950 to 1995

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A Final Observation

Having conducted this review, I have come closer to understanding why abuse was 'allowed to happen'.

I am convinced that monitoring and inspection are essential components in the framework of support and assurance for the welfare and protection of children in residential establishments. They can provide invaluable insights into the effectiveness of provision and the areas needing improvement, including the children's protection and sense of safety and they may contribute to the identification of abuse and abusers.

Although more work is needed to research the past and investigate practice, I believe that: the best protection for children in residential establishments comes from within:

  • within the child - through the development of self-respect and confidence and from support through advocacy
  • within the staff - through on-going development of their professional knowledge, understanding and skills and their sense of being valued as members of a team
  • within the establishment - through the development of a culture based on the rights, needs and welfare of the children, which promotes open and constructive questioning of practice and relationships and objective appraisal, reflective practice and self - evaluation
  • within the management - through support and training in good governance; through promoting and supporting self- evaluation and through constructive responses to the findings of internal and external evaluations including inspection
  • within the external providing authority - through informed supervision and monitoring; through support for the establishment informed by objective needs analysis; through well focused and managed record keeping and through engagement with the institution in responding to evaluation from whatever source
  • within the government - through good legislation, good communication, clear guidance, resources for training and development and effective monitoring of outcomes - and, above all, through support in raising the status of residential child care in society.