Grahame welcomes Scottish Borders Council admission of liability in child abuse case

Thursday November 4th 2021


Written by Midlothian View Reporter, Luke Jackson

Local MSP Christine Grahame has welcomed news that Scottish Borders Council has admitted liability in the civil case brought against them by parents of children who were abused by a teacher.

Linda McCall, a teacher formerly employed by Scottish Borders Council, has previously been found guilty of abusing children with special needs under her care at the unit in a criminal case brought against her. The parents brought a separate, civil case against Scottish Borders Council for damages arising from the council’s behaviour in failing to act when parents initially raised the alarm.

When concerns were initially raised the council assured parents that their concerns were unfounded and that there was no evidence of abuse, despite other staff having also raised concerns. Ms McCall, whose husband was at the time employed as a senior official in the Education Department, was moved sideways into a teaching post in a different school. The parents contacted Ms Grahame with their concerns, who supported them in having the allegations investigated.

Ms Grahame, MSP for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale constituency, said:

“I was first approached by 5 families involved in May 2018 and was appalled by what they told me about how they’d been treated and the allegations, now proven true, that they were making.

“Since then it has frankly been 3 and a half years of an uphill slog to try and get a semblance of justice for these families. The parents were repeatedly told SBC had investigated and found there was no issue, at one point when the first criminal case was abandoned it transpired that the Procurator Fiscal didn’t have full statements and a fresh complaint had to be drawn up and through all this there has still been no apology to the families from SBC. There is finally an independent inquiry underway into SBC’s handling of this, to which I submitted a statement, and I await the findings.

“The parents have now been vindicated in both the criminal court and civil court, however this I know is cold comfort. At the centre of all this we have young children, often non verbal and unable to clearly communicate, who have been traumatised by the abuse they endured, abuse which they were unable to understand or communicate to anyone. It is an abhorrent breach of trust by those we trust to care for the most vulnerable in society and SBC must face up to its role in this.”

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