Probe into abuse at children’s home

The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry is looking into Bellshill Children's Home. Pic posed by a model
The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry is looking into Bellshill Children's Home. Pic posed by a model

The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry has requested a report from North Lanarkshire Council on the former Bellshill Children’s Home.

The move has prompted a warning that the local authority could face legal action from former residents there.

The SCAI is currently investigating the nature and extent of abuse of children while in care in Scotland, within living memory until December 2014.

Bellshill Children’s Home was operated by Strathclyde Regional Council from 1977 until 1996, when North Lanarkshire Council took it over.

The council subsequently closed it in 1998 and the building in Scott Place was demolished and replaced with flats.

It is the only home in North Lanarkshire being investigated by the SCAI and Alison Gordon, the council’s head of children, families and justice social work services, told councillors in a report: “This was the first formal indication to the council that a particular establishment was being investigated. While it is the only one listed, it is possible that further requests may follow.

“As in the case of the former Bellshill Children’s Home, the council is responsible to the inquiry for any establishment which may have been opened or run by a predecessor authority.

“The scope of the information requested is detailed and wide-ranging and no indication is provided of what information or concerns about the establishment may already be known to the inquiry.

“An initial response providing basic information about the establishment and organisation has been provided to the inquiry and a further report will be provided in line with the timescale set by the SCAI.”

In 1996 a former worker at the Bellshill home was found guilty of abusing three girls and the council is bracing itself for further legal action.

Ms Gordon’s report state: “It is possible that the lifting of the time bar on civil claims will lead to further claims against the council and its insurers, but it is not possible at this time to identify a related financial cost.”