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National Confidential Forum

Published: 22 July 2019

The experience of taking part in the Forum has been described as bringing a sense of relief and unburdening. It can also be challenging to relive distressing experiences so how people are supported is important. The Forum support team work to inform participants before their hearing of potential personal outcomes and always emphasise the importance of good support, whatever a person perceives that to be. They signpost participants to helpful agencies when needs are identified whether that is before or after their time at the Forum. Throughout the process and afterwards participants can access a unique counselling support line for emotional support about talking to the Forum about their experiences.  

Jayne Laidlaw, Head of the Forum said:

“It has been a privilege to listen and we are grateful to all those who have shared with us. We have heard about the negative impacts that care has had on their adult lives and the helplessness of not being listened to as a child. Some have shared how difficult it has been for them to access records about their time in care and the impact this has on their identity. Some have shared the positive impact going into care had on their childhoods. The importance of children feeling cared for and made to feel like they matter has been prominent. We value and respect everything that people share with us.

What people tell us helps us understand what it was like to be a child in care in

Scotland. This is helping us to build a picture of the legacy of care in Scotland, which will form part of the national record and help policy makers provide better and safer care in Scotland for children now and in the future.”

So far, we have heard from over 100 individuals, ranging from ages 20 to 85, about their experiences in various institutions which include: children’s homes, boarding schools, hostel schools and hospitals. Their time in care has ranged from just a few months to up to 18 years and they have spoken of a wide array of care experiences; some negative, some positive and some mixed.

Most people have come to the Forum offices in Glasgow for a private hearing with two Forum Members, who in their previous work have listened to people talking about very personal experiences. The Forum covers travel expenses and accommodation where necessary for the participant and up to 2 people they would like to come along for support. Others have chosen to share their experiences with the Forum in writing. This is treated with the same respect and importance as a face to face hearing.

Individuals who want to take part in the Forum must be over 16 years old and no longer in care. Institutional care includes residential care or health service or boarding school and could have been run by a local authority, health board, a private provider or a charity. We can offer hearings in the morning, afternoon or evening and at the weekend, if required.

Anyone interested in finding out more can call the Forum for free on: 0800 121 4773, email: information@nationalconfidentialforum.org.uk or visit the Forum’s website www.nationalconfidentialforum.org.uk

If you are concerned about someone’s welfare, please tell someone who can help.

These are the phone numbers:

Duty Social Work (for Children)
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm:
01595 744000

Duty Social Work (for Adults)
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm:
01595 744400

Outside office hours:
01595 695611

Police: 101

Children’s Reporter:
0131 244 3780