Skip to main content
0800 121 4773
Quick exit

Frequently asked questions

Below you will find answers to some of our most frequently asked questions. This list is not exhaustive and if your question is not answered here, please do not hesitate to contact us.

What we are not

You say in your booklet that you are not an Inquiry, but I know from reading in the newspapers that an Inquiry has been established – what can you tell me about it?

The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry officially began on 1st October 2015. You can find out more information about it here.

Coming to the Forum does not prevent anyone from taking part in the Inquiry.

The Forum listens to and acknowledges all childhood experiences in care, whatever they were, helping to build the clearest picture of what institutional care was like for children in Scotland over the years. By creating this full picture, the Forum can pick up on important trends and patterns and, where appropriate, make recommendations that will help to improve things in future.

Eligibility

I live outside of Scotland now, but spent time in Scottish institutions as a child. Can I still participate?

Why is foster care not included?

I was in institutional care but also foster care. Am I not able to speak about my time in foster care during my hearing?

I took part in ‘Time To Be Heard’. Can I be heard again?

I am in prison. Can I be heard?

My time in care was positive and I would like to share this. Can I provide a testimony?
I am involved in court proceedings about abuse can I still participate?

 

I live outside of Scotland now, but spent time in Scottish institutions as a child. Can I still participate?

Yes, you can. If you feel ready to give your testimony, please fill in the application form and one of our NCF support staff will be in contact to see how we can assist in your travel to and from the Forum.

Why is foster care not included?

The legislation which set up the Forum guides and directs what the Forum can do. The Forum is focussed on institutional care and while we understand that many people’s journeys may have included foster care, we cannot report on this. We will, however, listen to what you have to say and may make recommendations based on this.

I was in institutional care but also foster care. Am I not able to speak about my time in foster care during my hearing?

We understand that, often, an individuals’ experience of care means moving between institutions and foster care. We are here to listen to your testimony in your own words. We will never stop you telling us something which you feel is important to your testimony. What you tell us about your time in foster care will be heard, however we cannot include this as testimony in our report. We can make recommendations based on what you say, which may make up a part of our final report.

I took part in the pilot forum: ‘Time To Be Heard’. Can I be heard again?

Yes, you can give your testimony to the Forum if you took part in ‘Time To Be Heard’.

I am in prison. Can I be heard?

Yes. The Forum is for everyone and we can make adaptations to how we hear testimony, depending on individual need. If you are in prison, we look at arrangements to let you be heard. Please be aware that confirming your hearing date in this instance will take longer than our normal timescales. Please contact our NCF support staff to discuss your circumstances.

My time in care was positive and I would like to share this. Can I provide a testimony?

The Forum is about understanding and acknowledging your experiences as a child, whatever they were, in institutional care in Scotland. This Forum is open to everyone and we encourage those who have had positive experiences, to share this with us too.

I am involved in court proceedings about abuse can I still participate?

We understand that some people may involved in legal proceedings concerning their experiences. It is a matter for each individual to decide when they wish to come to the Forum. It may be more helpful if you could contact us to discuss the most appropriate time for you to attend.

Completing the Application Form

Can I apply on behalf of a family member/friend/someone I support?

Why do you need to know how long I was in institutional care?

I cannot remember the names of all the institutions I was in and/or the length of the time I was there.  Does this mean my application won’t be accepted? 

Why do you need to know the names of the people coming with me? 

I do not know who I am bringing with me yet.  Does this matter? 

What happens to my application when I send it to you?

 

Can I apply on behalf of a family member/friend/someone I support?

We welcome enquiries from anyone.  You can ask on behalf of another person to check whether they are eligible to take part.  You can also support them to fill in the application. However, the Forum requires that we hear from the person themselves about their experience. 

 

Why do you need to know how long I was in institutional care? 

By telling us how long you were in institutional care, it helps us to build a picture of historical institutional care at different times so we can include this in our reports.

 

I cannot remember the names of all the institutions I was in and/or the length of the time I was there.  Does this mean my application will not be accepted? 

No, your application will be accepted.  We ask people to give us information to show where they were in care and for how long, only to help us build a picture of what institutional care for children in Scotland was like.  This information will allow us to have a better picture of the time you spent in care. 

 

Why do you need to know the names of the people coming with me?

The Forum is a safe and confidential place.  It is important that we know who is coming along to the Forum.  This ensures that the privacy of individuals is not breached.  If the person who comes with you on the day, is not the person named on the application form, please let us know.

 

I do not know who I am bringing with me yet.  Does this matter? 

You can send us your application form without identifying a supporter.  We will be in contact with you to confirm your hearing date.  We will ask you then to let us know who you will be bringing along with you.  If you would rather have someone independent to support you, we can guide you to an appropriate service that may be able to help you.

 

What happens to my application when I send it to you?

When we receive your application form we will discuss it with you, confirm a hearing date and put arrangements in place for travel and/or accommodation as necessary.

We will not keep your application form for any longer than needed.  Information given to the Forum is held confidentially.  

More about hearings

Why do you ask me to bring verification of my time in residential childcare?

Why do hearings not take place at weekends, evenings or on Fridays?

Why is my testimony electronically recorded?

Can I still take part if I do not wish to be recorded?

How long do the hearings last?

What if I need to cancel?

 

Why do you ask me to bring verification of my time in residential childcare?

You do not need to provide any documents or records about your time in care. However, as part of our report, we hope to include information on how accessible personal records are to those who spent time in institutional child care in Scotland. By bringing along what you have been able to access, it will help us to build a picture of this. We appreciate that not everyone will be able to bring verification.

Why do hearings not take place at weekends, evenings or on Fridays?

We want to make sure you are safe and comfortable when you leave your hearing. We want to be sure you are able to access a wide range of support and advice services if you need them. Having hearings take place Monday to Thursday, during the day, should make this easier.

Why is my testimony electronically recorded?

The testimony is electronically recorded so that we can ensure we are able to focus on listening to you and to accurately capture all that you say. What you tell us is important and we want to make sure we get it right. The recording will be uploaded onto our secure system and then anonymised.

Can I still take part if I do not wish to be recorded?

Yes you can still take part. Please contact us if you have concerns about your testimony being recorded and we can discuss what other options are available to you, such as sending in written testimony.

How long do the hearings last?

We schedule hearings to last for approximately 2 hours. This does not mean we expect you to talk for 2 hours. It does it mean that you are restricted to that time. If you find at the end of your hearing, you have not had enough time, our support staff can schedule another hearing date for you to come back.

What if I need to cancel?

If you need to cancel your hearing for any reason, please contact the NCF Support Staff on 0800 121 4773 or 0141 352 2333, as soon as possible. This will allow us to reschedule your hearing date for a more appropriate time for you.

After Your Hearing

Can I have a copy of my testimony?

Can you help me access my records?

Can I come back to the forum?

What will happen to my testimony when the Forum ends? 

 

Can I have a copy of my testimony?

You will be able to come back and hear your testimony, up to 2 weeks after your hearing date.  Just let us know if you would like to do this. After 2 weeks, the recording will be deleted.  We will have taken all the information we need and stored it anonymously on our database. 

After 2 weeks we will not be able to give you a copy of your testimony as all identifying information, such as your name, names of peers and names of institutions are removed when it is put into the secure database. 

 

Can you help me access my records?

We cannot help you to access your records, but we can direct you to people who are experienced in searching for historical care and health records. Your records will not be available at the Forum itself.

 

Can I come back to the Forum?

We can schedule another hearing  for you if you feel you have not had enough time.  Or if you remember something after you leave which you now want to say. There is also the option of sending us written testimony to share anything you forgot to say or were not ready to speak about, at the Forum.

 

What will happen to my testimony when the Forum ends?

Your testimony will have been uploaded to our secure database. All information which could identify you will be removed. The testimonies of people like you will be included in the Forum's reports.  This is a powerful record of what happened to children in Scotland in the past, and we will look to pass this on to be an important historical document for the Scottish people.