CHILDREN in homes in Pencaitland and North Berwick suffered physical, emotional and sexual abuse, the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry has concluded.

Barnardo’s had residential establishments across Scotland, including at Glasclune in North Berwick, which cared for 348 children, and Tyneholm in Pencaitland, which cared for 289 children.

The inquiry heard from more than 100 witnesses between October 2018 and February last year.

Witnesses spoke about physical abuse, force-feeding, chores, washing and bathing, and emotional and sexual abuse.

In a just-released 150-page report, statements from witnesses told of different instances of abuse at the two facilities.

One witness, ‘Susan’, was in Glasclune in the 1960s and 1970s, and her records state that in November 1975 she was smacked on the face by one of the people in charge of the establishment.

Meanwhile, the report states: “At Tyneholm, bedwetters had to strip their bed, carry their sheets to the laundry, wash them and hang them out.

“Sometimes you just had to go back to the same bed at night; they didn’t change it.”

Children were also force-fed at Glasclune, with one written statement noting: “Sometimes the staff made you sit there and eat the food if there was something you didn’t like.

“Sometimes you would vomit because you didn’t like it.”

Glasclune, which was opened in 1944 as a Barnardo’s home for girls, operated as a mixed home from 1953 and in the late 1970s became used as accommodation for children with emotional difficulties.

In 1979, the building, which stood on Greenheads Road, was gutted by a fire, which was attended by 60 firefighters at its peak and caused £300,000 of damage.

None of the children in the home at the time were injured in the blaze and the home itself closed three years later.

Tyneholm House in Pencaitland was opened in 1948 by Barnardo’s as a home for boys and became mixed accommodation in 1970 before changing to a home for children with physical and learning disabilities in 1973. It closed in 1985.

Lady Smith, chair of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry, revealed the findings on Tuesday.

The report concludes that children did suffer physical, emotional and sexual abuse.

During the case study, the inquiry considered evidence about the nature and extent of any abuse of children in care at institutions run by Quarriers, Aberlour Child Care Trust and Barnardo’s (QAB) at various locations across Scotland, including Tyneholm and Glasclune.

Lady Smith said: “Children were physically abused, emotionally abused and sexually abused in harsh, rigid regimes.

“Many children did not find the warmth, care, and compassionate comfort they needed.

“Scant regard was paid to their dignity.

“The previous lives of the children who came into the care of the QAB providers had all been blighted in some way, whether by being abused in the family home, the death of one or more parent, parental illness, families who could not cope with caring for them, abandonment or by other similar circumstances.

“The QAB providers could have made a real and positive difference to every child, but that did not happen.

“For many, further damage was inflicted upon them.”

Lady Smith will take the findings into account before deciding on her final recommendations.

Martin Crewe, director of Barnardo’s Scotland, apologised to the children who suffered abuse while in Barnardo’s care.

He said: “From the outset, Barnardo’s welcomed the opportunity to take part in the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry and to assist in the task of addressing the issues raised in the terms of reference which focused on residential care in Scotland from 1921 to 1991.

“Barnardo’s has co-operated fully and will continue to co-operate with the inquiry in any way that it can.

“We recognise the importance of the inquiry’s work to victims and survivors and are fully committed to learning from the past and to participating in any process which will assist in the safeguarding and protection of children in Scotland and across the UK.

“We accept, regrettably, that some children were abused while they were in the care of the charity. It is a matter of deep regret to the charity that we failed to protect any particular children, at any particular time and in any particular homes.

“We apologise to those children who suffered abuse while they were in the care of Barnardo’s.

“Barnardo’s will now give careful consideration to the inquiry’s 150-page report.”