BOSSES at a care charity issued a fresh apology yesterday as the findings of an inquiry into child abuse confirmed youngsters at a Renfrewshire orphanage suffered shocking neglect.

The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry concluded that vulnerable kids at Quarriers Village, in Bridge of Weir, were physically, emotionally and sexually assaulted.

Chaired by judge Lady Smith, the third phase of the investigation looked at the nature and extent of any abuse of children at establishments operated by Quarriers, Aberlour Child Care Trust and Barnardo’s between 1921 and 1991.

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The 43-day case study took place between October 2018 and February 2019, during which time the inquiry heard evidence from 110 witnesses.

It also examined any systems, policies and procedures in place at these institutions and how these were applied.

Lady Smith said: “Children were physically abused, emotionally abused and sexually abused in harsh, rigid regimes.

“Many children did not find the warmth, care and compassionate comfort they needed.

“Scant regard was paid to their dignity.”

Lady Smith will use the findings when deciding what recommendations are to be made in her final report.

David Whelan, spokesman for Former Boys and Girls Abused in Quarriers, said the findings “vindicate” their campaign for a public investigation.

He said former management of Quarriers had failed in their duty of care but accepted that the organisation was now “very different.”

Mr Whelan added: “Lady Smith’s findings are unequivocal in their condemnation of the past Quarriers organisation and the effects of this abuse and its impact on those who suffered such abuse in Quarriers’ past care.

“The extent and nature of the abuse which Lady Smith has found to have occurred in Quarriers is truly shocking.”

Alice Harper, chief executive of Quarriers, issued an “unreserved apology” to those who suffered abuse.

The Gazette: David Whelan David Whelan

She said: “The inquiry allowed us to meet with a number of former residents. This helped us to learn that abuse impacts each person differently and that this requires an individualised approach.

“We understand it may be difficult for former residents and survivors to make contact and our door remains open for anyone who wishes to speak to us and share their experiences, both good and bad.”

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