A FORMER resident of a Renfrewshire children’s home has told an inquiry that suffering abuse “became a way of life” for him.

The man described how his “house parents” at Quarriers Village, in Bridge of Weir, in the 1960s would hit, push or shout at children on a daily basis.

“It was as if it was the natural thing to do to you,” the witness told the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry.

The man, who is now in his 60s, told the inquiry how his sister later confided in him that she had been sexually abused at the establishment.

The home, a late 19th-century development, consisted of dozens of orphan homes, known as cottages, which were run by a house mother and house father.

The witness, who cannot be identified, described how he and his sibling were admitted to the Quarriers home in the early 1960s, following the death of their mother.

He believes he was around six years old at the time.

The man said he was very unhappy when he arrived at the home and was frightened of the house parents in his cottage.

“I didn’t feel comfortable, I didn’t feel at ease,” the witness said.

He also told how the pair tasked with looking after him showed no interest in his problems or any understanding of the difficulties he had already been through.

“I was an inconvenience and just part of the job,” he said. “They never done much for us at all.

“They showed no love whatsoever, no caring, no understanding.”

The man described how he would be force fed, shouted at or “pushed around” if he refused to eat his meal.

Meanwhile, the house father “was the man of authority” and would instil fear that you had to eat what you were given.

The witness also revealed how the house father would abuse him if he failed to clean all of the cottage residents’ shoes properly, which was his allocated task.

He told the hearing: “In my opinion, [the house father] was the one that abused me on these occasions by hitting me and pushing me. 

“He would push my head down into the inside of the shoes.”

The witness also said the man would issue beatings with his bare hands.
He added: “It was habitual, it was constant, it was all the time – it never stopped.”

Continuing his evidence to the inquiry, the man said the house mother was “more of a shouter” and “quite vicious with her terminology towards you.”

He continued: “Every day something would happen. It was as if it was the natural thing to do to you, to knock you about, shout at you, be bad to you. It became a way of life.”

The man also described how his sister later told him she had been sexually abused by the house father – which the witness was unaware of at the time.

He said he felt “elated” when he eventually left Quarriers to be reunited with his father.

The inquiry, before Lady Smith, continues.