Publish date: 03 Mar 2022

Preventing the abuse of children in care -  The psychology of individual adult abusers.

The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (SCAI) will hold a two-day roundtable event examining the psychology of abusers on 22 and 23 March 2022.

Part of SCAI’s remit requires it to consider how to protect children in care from abuse; it is hoped that learning from the roundtable will help inform Lady Smith’s conclusions and recommendations.

The roundtable event will take place at the Inquiry’s hearings venue at Mint House, 20 West Register Street, Edinburgh.

The event is open to the public. COVID measures will be in place, taking account of relevant Scottish Government and Public Health Scotland guidance. This means that the number of seats available will be limited. Seats cannot be reserved in advance and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Inquiry Counsel will lead discussions between a panel of eight experts, including forensic clinical psychologists and others who are experienced in child protection. They will discuss the characteristics, motivation, and techniques of those who abuse children in care. Further details about the programme and the experts participating can be found on SCAI’s website. 

The matters discussed will include:

  • The impact of pornography
  • Observance of religious doctrine
  • Celibacy
  • Individual and group offending
  • Grooming, including online
  • The role of attachment
  • Minimising the risk of victims becoming abusers
  • Denial, minimisation, and acceptance by abusers
  • Children who are most vulnerable to abuse
  • Recruitment practices and how these can be improved

A spokesperson for SCAI said: “The roundtable event aims to draw together expert knowledge and experience, to examine areas of commonality, divergence, and any gaps that may need further consideration so that the Inquiry can increase its understanding of the psychology of those who abuse and are at risk of abusing children.

“This will help inform recommendations to help prevent and diminish the risks of children in care being abused.”