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The Historic System to Protect and Prevent the Abuse of Children in Care in Scotland, 1948-1995 - Executive Summary

Authors: Abrams, L. and Fleming, L.

This report was commissioned by the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry to consider the existence and effectiveness of the systems to protect children in care in Scotland, and to prevent the abuse of those children in the period framed by the Children Act 1948 and the Children Act 1995.

The key aims of the research were to:

  • identify and describe the policies, structures, and mechanisms in place at the Scottish Office and Local Authority levels to protect children in the care of the state from abuse and to prevent it occurring;
  • assess the effectiveness of these policies, structures, and mechanisms (e.g. oversight of Children’s Committees, inspection regimes at national and local authority levels, effectiveness of communications between different authorities); and
  • identify and assess the attitudes expressed towards children in care by those responsible for their wellbeing across the period 1948-1995 and to identify change where it exists.


The research was carried out by Professor Lynn Abrams (Professor of Modern History, University of Glasgow) and Doctor Linda Fleming (Research Associate, University of Glasgow) and focuses primarily, though not exclusively, on historical records pertaining to Glasgow and the West of Scotland. This Executive Summary provides an overview of key findings from their analysis.