Angela Constance MSP

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Angela Constance MSP

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  • Member for: Almond Valley
  • Region: Lothian
  • Party: Scottish National Party

Angela is a member of the following Committees:

Angela is a member of the following Cross-Party Groups:

Parliamentary Activities

Search for other Speeches made by Angela Constance

Meeting of the Parliament 17 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Angela Constance

My officials have been in touch with a range of religious organisations and children’s charities. We have many religious organisations and children’s charities in Scotland that, like the nation, have a past that let our children down. Collectively, we—whether the state, the Government, religious organisations or charities—have to look that past squarely in the eye, acknowledge our failings, acknowledge the damage that has been done and move forward together.

One of the strengths of a public inquiry is that it gives religious organisations and charities a good opportunity to demonstrate that they are open to participating freely and voluntarily in the process and that, like the rest of us, they acknowledge the failings of the past and are utterly committed to making things right for children today and for the children of tomorrow.



Meeting of the Parliament 17 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Angela Constance

I can only say simply and succinctly to Mr Fergusson that I cannot change the past, but I hope that I can work with all members to change the future.

The time bar is undoubtedly important to survivors, who are being ably represented by MSPs across the parties, which is to be welcomed. We will seriously take on board the views of all members and survivors. I am pleased that Mr Wheelhouse is sitting next to me, because he will be the lead on taking that work forward.



Meeting of the Parliament 17 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Angela Constance

As we move forward over the next few months, it is important that we consult in a way that enables survivors to participate. We have written to various organisations that are funded through financial support from Survivor Scotland. A number of small events will be held across the country to engage with survivors. In addition, there will be some larger regional events that will involve the health service, the third sector and children’s charities.

The scope and remit of the terms of reference are crucial, so how they are crafted is extremely important to ensure not only that survivors have confidence in the inquiry, but that the inquiry has a focus of purpose that means that it will achieve outcomes that are meaningful to survivors and to us as a country.

Although I do not want to speculate too much about the terms of reference, we need to have a discussion about them—survivors themselves seek further discussion on them—particularly around what is considered to be institutional care. It is imperative that we do not make the mistakes that have been made in other jurisdictions. I am clear that if we are taking the step that we all agree that we should be taking of having a national public inquiry, we must get it right. Therefore, we must work with others. We cannot act in isolation. We must get all the detail absolutely correct.



Meeting of the Parliament 17 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Angela Constance

That is an issue on which Mr Matheson and Mr Wheelhouse will be well versed and on which they will keep a close eye.

From my perspective, it is very valuable that the new Police Scotland national child abuse investigation unit will provide a national resource with a range of specialist skills and expertise. When necessary, it will lead and co-ordinate complex inquiries and develop good and better practice. Crucially, it will also improve links between the police, the third sector and other statutory agencies. In doing so, it will improve the intelligence networks that are required to proactively identify cases of child abuse.

It is important to note that the unit will be a national resource and that its job will be to directly support the good work that is undertaken under the existing structure of local police child protection units across Scotland.



Meeting of the Parliament 17 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Angela Constance

As I intimated in my statement, we need to do some further work with survivors on a range of issues in relation to the terms of reference for the public inquiry. I do not want to speculate too much in advance of that consultation, but it is certainly not lost on me that the time bar in civil cases is a huge issue for survivors. As I intimated in my answer to Ms Fabiani, it is an issue that is being pursued by Mr Wheelhouse and Mr Matheson.



Meeting of the Parliament 17 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Angela Constance

My colleagues in justice are progressing that important matter.

It is important to remember that the position on extraterritoriality does not mean that sexual offences against children cannot be prosecuted. That said, it is correct that such cases can be prosecuted only in the part of the UK where the offence was committed. For example, an offence that is committed in England can be prosecuted only in England and such offences cannot by law be prosecuted in Scotland.

The Scottish Government ministerial working group on child sexual exploitation, which reported earlier this year, considered that there is a case for extending the extraterritorial effect of sexual offences against children to include offences committed elsewhere in the United Kingdom so that they can be prosecuted in Scotland if that is the best place to conduct the prosecution. The Scottish Government agrees with that recommendation and we intend to introduce legislative change when there is a suitable legislative opportunity.



Meeting of the Parliament 17 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Angela Constance

I appreciate the great historical difficulties related to missing records. I give Graeme Pearson and Margaret McDougall an undertaking to ensure that everything possible will be done. We will go out and engage with appropriate stakeholders, in health or social work services, to ensure that we do all that we can to retrieve records where they exist and that we have best practice as we move forward. Obviously, there are legal requirements to meet on the maintenance and the protection of information contained in records.

The purpose of an inquiry is to work with survivors to enable them to move forward, to get to the truth and to justice, to give them that much-needed public acknowledgement and validation of what they have experienced and, as I mentioned, to create a comprehensive national record.



Meeting of the Parliament 17 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Angela Constance

I am pleased that Michael Russell is in the chamber today. He has been a strong champion of the support that survivors greatly need and a strong advocate for an inquiry. His point about survivors’ personal testimony is a powerful one, as the personal testimony of survivors is salient to what we need to learn as individuals and as a nation.

In response to Mr Pearson, I spoke about the importance of the national collective account of what has happened and who is responsible, and how that is helpful to individuals who are piecing together their own lives and personal histories. However, as Michael Russell says, that national picture and account of what has happened is imperative if we are all to move forward collectively as a nation and ensure that we learn the lessons of the past. An important purpose of an inquiry is to fully understand what has happened and why, and to compare it to what happens today.

There is never any room for complacency when it comes to the protection of children, which must be our number 1 priority in all matters. It is, therefore, important that, as we progress in our consultation with survivors, we craft the terms of reference in the right way and give appropriate consideration to the skills of all those who are involved either directly in the inquiry or as the work of the inquiry moves forward.

Michael Russell makes the point that that is not just about involving legal and human rights experts or people with care, support, health, education and social work roles. I agree that we need to look at including individuals with a broader range of skills to ensure that we have an accurate and live national account of what has happened and what went wrong in the lives of so many of the nation’s children.



Meeting of the Parliament 17 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Angela Constance

I appreciate Ms Fabiani’s long-standing interest in the matter of time bar. It is important to stress that there is no time bar for criminal cases—I am sure that Ms Fabiani and others recognise and understand that. Nevertheless, it is important that the Government acknowledges that the time bar for civil cases is an issue of high priority to survivors.

I am pleased to say that Paul Wheelhouse, the Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs, was, along with me and Aileen Campbell, the Minister for Children and Young People, at the interaction event that was organised by the Scottish Human Rights Commission on Monday. He was there to listen to the views and concerns of survivors.

Linda Fabiani is right to say that the Scottish Law Commission looked into the issue of time bar, which is complex. There is some flexibility for judges, but it remains of great concern to survivors. As I said in my statement, Paul Wheelhouse has written to key stakeholders in the legal sector, asking them to discuss these matters with him. The Government will continue to work with survivors as Mr Wheelhouse’s discussion with the legal establishment continues, so that we have the fullest understanding of the civil justice barriers that are faced by survivors.



Meeting of the Parliament 17 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Angela Constance

I begin by assuring Mr Pearson that I do indeed get it, as does the Government.

Mr Pearson makes a crucial point about records. As a former social worker and as a constituency MSP, I have met individuals who live with the frustration and pain of not being able to understand or put together a chronology of their life story, because records are missing. We take so much for granted: we all have many pictures of our children, and documents and memorabilia of our childhoods and those of our children. Many survivors have huge gaps in their lives because records were destroyed. It is difficult for them to move forward as part of their recovery when there are big gaps in their life stories. The point about protecting records and the integrity of information from here on in is crucial. Survivors must have absolute confidence in the process.

One of the inquiry’s core purposes is to create a comprehensive national record. I hope that that might help some individuals to piece together their life stories and journeys. That comprehensive national record is important to creating the chronology of events. Important Government work is also on-going to produce an online database of all children’s homes in Scotland.

We are looking at and learning from other jurisdictions. For example, Australia’s find and connect service can help people to piece together their lives and to locate relatives, such as siblings and parents, from whom they were separated.

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-11901.3 Neil Findlay: Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce—As an amendment to motion S4M-11901
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NoDefeated

S4M-11901.1 Mary Scanlon: Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce—As an amendment to motion S4M-11901
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11830.2 John Swinney: The Smith Commission—As an amendment to motion S4M-11830 in the name of Ru
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YesCarried

S4M-11830 Ruth Davidson: The Smith Commission—That the Parliament welcomes the publication of the Sm
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YesCarried

Amendment 6 moved by Dr Richard Simpson on motion S4M-11826 Maureen Watt: Food (Scotland) Bill—That
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NoDefeated

S4M-11825.3 Claire Baker: End of Year Fish Negotiations—As an amendment to motion S4M-11825 in the n
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NoDefeated

S4M-11825.2 Jamie McGrigor: End of Year Fish Negotiations—As an amendment to motion S4M-11825 in the
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11825.1 Tavish Scott: End of Year Fish Negotiations—As an amendment to motion S4M-11825 in the n
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NoDefeated

S4M-11825 Richard Lochhead: End of Year Fish Negotiations—That the Parliament welcomes the successfu
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-11763.3 Margaret Burgess: Private Sector Rent Reform—As an amendment to motion S4M-11763 in the
>> Show more
YesCarried

Search for other Motions lodged by Angela Constance
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11507: Angela Constance, Almond Valley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 11/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11398.2: Angela Constance, Almond Valley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 04/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10829: Angela Constance, Almond Valley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 18/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10214: Angela Constance, Almond Valley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 03/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09744: Angela Constance, Almond Valley, Scottish National Party, On Behalf of Parliamentary Bureau, Date Lodged: 16/04/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09575: Angela Constance, Almond Valley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 01/04/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09376: Angela Constance, Almond Valley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 17/03/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08462: Angela Constance, Almond Valley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 02/12/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-07939: Angela Constance, Almond Valley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 07/10/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-06492: Angela Constance, Almond Valley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 07/05/2013 Show Full Motion >>
This Member currently holds a ministerial post. First Minister and Ministers cannot ask the Government questions which is why no recent questions are displaying here. Please use the full search to find details of previous questions by this Member.
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S3W-37111: Angela Constance, Livingston, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 26/10/2010 Show Full Question >>
Question S3O-11446: Angela Constance, Livingston, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 23/09/2010 Show Full Question >>
Question S3W-34741: Angela Constance, Livingston, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 22/06/2010 Show Full Question >>
Question S3W-34740: Angela Constance, Livingston, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 22/06/2010 Show Full Question >>
Question S3W-34459: Angela Constance, Livingston, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 11/06/2010 Show Full Question >>
Question S3W-34461: Angela Constance, Livingston, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 11/06/2010 Show Full Question >>
Question S3W-34460: Angela Constance, Livingston, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 11/06/2010 Show Full Question >>
Question S3O-10609: Angela Constance, Livingston, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 20/05/2010 Show Full Question >>
Question S3W-32037: Angela Constance, Livingston, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 01/03/2010 Show Full Question >>
Question S3W-32036: Angela Constance, Livingston, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 01/03/2010 Show Full Question >>

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