The National Confidential Forum has appealed to care-experienced people in Renfrewshire to have their voices heard.
The Forum was established in 2014 to listen to anyone over the age of 16 who has been in residential care in Scotland.
NCF (the Forum) has three statutory functions: To hear testimony from people who experienced institutional care; to record and report on what they hear and make recommendations for improvement; to support and signpost people to assist their recovery from their experiences.
What people decide to tell the Forum is kept confidential and reports are anonymised so that participants can’t be identified.
The Forum now wants to hear from people from Paisley and Renfrewshire who spent time in institutional care in Scotland, including residential care, health service and boarding schools.
Jayne Laidlaw, Head of the National Confidential Forum, said: “Many of those survivors experienced abuse while they were in care at the hands of people who were supposed to be looking after them.
“The NCF provides a vital function in allowing people to finally be heard and we particularly want to hear from care-experienced people in the Paisley area.
“We hear about good experiences, we hear about bad experiences, we hear about neutral experiences and everything in between.
“We are not here just to hear from people who were abused, we are here to listen to testimony, acknowledge the experiences of all people, including people with disabilities, who received institutional care in Scotland.
“One of the things that really attracts people to come to us is that their confidentiality will be protected.
“Survivors of institutional care played a central part in shaping the NCF, designing the function, and what a hearing should feel like.”
Jayne wants anyone with care-experience to contact the Forum and revealed that people who had already had their voices heard were determined to shape a better care system in Scotland.
And she revealed that care-experienced people who have already given testimony to the Forum found the process therapeutic.
She added: “Primarily, people should contact the Forum because they want to be heard and they want government, decision makers and the general public to take note, be aware, and be sensitive to the experiences of people who have been in care in Scotland.
“It is important that their voices are heard because care-experienced people are stigmatised and they experience prejudice and discrimination on a daily basis.
“Another reason why people come to the Forum is that they absolutely want to make a difference.
“They want young people in Scotland, now and in the future, who are placed in institutional care to be loved, valued and cared for.
“Time after time, participants of the NCF feed back to us how cathartic an experience it was for them.”
If you experienced institutional care in Scotland and want to be formally heard and acknowledged, call NCF on 0800 121 4773 or go to: www.nationalconfidentialforum.org.uk.
Photo: Jayne Laidlaw, Head of the NCF