Child sex abuse survivor returns to Fife to test awareness of Scottish Government Redress scheme

Dave Sharp insists not enough is being done to promote it – and he will spend the next few days visiting several towns to speak to the people whose lives have been shattered by their abusers.

Dave was one of the young boys who experienced the horrors of living at the former St Ninian’s residential school in Falkland.

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In 2017, the Christian Brothers religious order, which ran the school, was ordered to apologize for “systemic failures’ which allowed paedophile priests to abuse boys.

Dave Sharp

The school closed in 1983, but figured prominently in the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry.

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A total of 35 former pupils came forward with allegations against five members of staff

Two former teachers were jailed for a total of 15 years after being convicted of the physical and sexual abuse of boys in their care.

Dave spent 40 years fighting for compensation from the Catholic order.

This week he returned to the Kingdom from his home in Northampton to find out how much is known locally about the Redress Scotland scheme.

The Scottish Government said it is committed to funding the full costs, but Mr Sharp believes the scheme is going under the radar.

And he wants to know how many Fifers know about it in visits to Glenrothes, Leven and Kirkcaldy planned this week.

Mr Sharp, who runs the charity Safe (Seek and Find Everyone) from his base in Northampton, plans to visit foodbanks, and frontline agencies dealing with issues of drink and drug addiction, mental health and homelessness.

He plans to hand out leaflets as well as telling his story – and listening to those of local people.

Mr Sharp said: “I know for a fact no-one will have heard of the redress scheme.

“That’s what upsets me the most

“I am not political. I am a child abuse survivor.

“John Swinney is telling people he has an awareness campaign up and running, but we haven’t seen it. Where is it? That breaks my heart.”

Mr Sharp added: “I want to find out how much is known about the scheme. It is all about raising awareness and letting people know what is going on in Fife

“I met three homeless men in Glenrothes. All three were sexually abused as children – and not one of them knew the name of a charity that could help them. That isn’t a criticism – they just aren’t resourced properly.

“If all the people who were abused as children came forward it would cost around £750-7800m.

“That’s a massive bill for the Scottish Government

“We are talking about a thousand and thousands of people stuck in drugs and addiction, living in bedsits and hostels.

“They have given up on society, and society gave up on them.

“I will have a couple of hours sleep and go out in the early hours of the morning.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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