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Consultation on the proposal to develop an Acknowledgement and Accountability approach for Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse


Summary Account of Acknowledgement and Accountability Consultation


In September 2008, the Scottish Government went out to consultation with a proposal to establish a forum where survivors of abuse whilst in residential and other care settings could present their experiences.

The proposal followed a commitment by Scottish Ministers in February 2008 to establish a forum and sits alongside a variety of other initiatives to assist adults who had suffered childhood abuse in care, including a therapeutic support service designed specifically for them. (The term 'Acknowledgement and Accountability' was used in the consultation process but is provisional and may be changed if another title is regarded as more appropriate.)

The work is underpinned by SurvivorScotland, the National Strategy for Adult Survivors of Childhood Abuse, www.survivorscotland.org.uk, which set out to address the effects, particularly of sexual abuse, while recognising that this often also encompasses a range of other forms of abuse. Its remit covers historical abuse, and it aims to enhance the health and wellbeing of survivors through improved self-care, community, primary and tertiary care.

The Consultation

The paper was developed with the National Reference Group, set up to implement the recommendations of SurvivorScotland. This group includes wide representation from agencies representing survivors and from individual survivors themselves. The consultation document was issued on 10 October 2008.

The consultation process was designed to draw on the views and experiences of survivors particularly and it was acknowledged from the start that more innovative methods were needed to ensure that this happened. A number of events were held with survivors and survivor organisations to raise their awareness of the consultation and engage them in discussions. Group and individual interviews were also carried out with survivors, facilitated by survivor organisations.

This first report provides a summary of the 51 responses that were received using the traditional consultation method (see Appendix 1 for detail). Thirty-five individual responses have already been posted on our Website, excluding 16 responses which the respondents asked to be treated as confidential.

We will be publishing two further reports from the consultation, one giving details of the views expressed at the events and the other presenting the results of the survivor interviews. In these ways we have sought to give voice to those 'silent' survivors who might not otherwise have the opportunity to present their views.

We are also taking on board national and international experiences to help us to continue to scope the best way forward for the future and have established contact with, for example, the work undertaken in the Irish Republic to assist 'in-care' survivors.

We thank everyone very much for their responses to this important and sensitive piece of work. We hope you will feel able to continue to help us in what is an important piece of work, and which will help shape the future for survivors in Scotland. All comments have been carefully considered and will be taken into account when moving forward.

Accessing responses to the consultation

We have made all non-confidential responses to the consultation available to the public at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/Recent; however this has been dependent on respondents providing us with the necessary confirmation of their wishes, to ensure that individual confidentiality is maintained. The sensitive nature of the subject matter means that assurance of confidentiality is extremely important. Where we have removed any text, this has been due to the fact that it may have identified other individuals or bodies who had not given express permission to be named.

Endorsement of the Proposal Overall

Overall, respondents welcomed the opportunity to respond to the consultation and supported the introduction of a forum. This very positive endorsement of the proposal will enable us to move forward with confidence that this is what survivors want