CHARITIES and faith-based groups will be asked whether they admit overseeing the abuse of children, during the first public hearings of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry.

The Inquiry has announced 10 Christian organisations and three charities will appear during seven weeks of hearings, beginning on May 31 as it takes evidence in public for the first time.

They will be asked what residential care they provided for children, when, and how it was governed. The inquiry will also ask each charity whether they acknowledge abuse took place on their watch.

Seven organisations affiliated to the Catholic Church will be called before inquiry chairwoman Lady Smith – the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul; the Sisters of Nazareth, the Good Shepherd Sisters; the De La Salle Brothers; the Christian Brothers; the Marist Brothers and the Benedictines.

The Church of Scotland and its CrossReach social care arm, the Bishops Conference and the Conference of Religious will also appear, as will the charities Barnardo’s, Quarriers and Aberlour Child Care Trust. They, like the church groups, will be asked “whether there is any retrospective acknowledgement of abuse”.

Quarriers has already taken part in a forum for child abuse victims after a number of former staff members were convicted of abusing the young people in their care. The Sisters of Nazareth, the De La Salle Brothers and the Christian Brothers have all seen former workers convicted of abuse carried out in Scotland.

During hearings which will take place for four days a week, in Edinburgh, until mid-August, the inquiry will also hear from experts with knowledge of the history of child care in Scotland, including what laws applied to children in care and the differences in attitudes towards children which may have existed over time.

Professor Lorraine Radford, a UK expert on Child abuse at the University of Central Lancashire, will discuss the likely extent of abuse within the care system in Scotland and the nature of that child abuse.

The first set of public hearings will also see the Scottish Government quizzed on the extent of the state’s involvement in development of residential and foster care over the year. A spokesman for the inquiry said: “The institutions which have been asked to give evidence at this stage are either under investigation by the inquiry or have previously spoken to us.”

The hearing is also inviting people who wish to participate in public sessions to apply to do so before a deadline of April 18 – for those who wish to take part in the first phase of oral hearings.

Alan Draper, a spokesman for In Care Abuse Survivors Scotland, said: “If organisations say ‘yes, abuse took place in our establishments and we apologise’, that could be very positive.

“But survivors want individuals and organisations held to account,” he added.

“Admitting what happened should not prevent witnesses’ evidence being heard and those who committed the abuse should be named. and the appropriate police action taken.”