Former residents who claim they were physically and sexually abused at two orphanages in Scotland are suing the religious order that ran them.

Ten people are taking legal action against the Sisters of Charity of Saint Vincent De Paul.

In an interim report published last week, the child abuse inquiry found that children were beaten with hairbrushes, leather straps and crucifixes at the homes.

It also found that children were sexually abused at Smyllum Park.

The inquiry heard evidence from 54 witnesses about their experiences at Smyllum Park near Lanark, which closed its doors in 1981, and Bellevue House in Rutherglen, which shut in 1961.

The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry's chairwoman Lady Smith said the homes were places of "threat and abuse".

The judge added the children found "no love, no compassion, no dignity and no comfort" at the orphanages.

Glasgow law firm Thompsons Solicitors confirmed it is pursuing 10 cases and said "many more" are likely to launch court action.

Partner Laura Connor, who leads the firm’s survivors team, said: “Many of those who gave evidence to the inquiry about Smyllum and Bellevue are our clients and the evidence they have provided the inquiry and ourselves means that we are now able to proceed immediately with this legal action.

“It’s important to survivors that the charity now formally acknowledge the inquiry’s finding, issue an apology to those who have been affected and admit liability in civil claims against them.

“This will allow the survivors from these institutions to gain some form of justice for the life changing abuse they have suffered.”

She added: “What we and the survivors expect is for the Sisters of Charity to meet with us now and for these legal matters to be sorted as quickly as possible.

“We expect The Sisters Of Charity to show compassion and understanding in this matter and not to put people who have already suffered so much at their hands through further anguish and delay.”

The order has offered its "heartfelt apology" to anyone who was abused in its care.

In a statement published last week, the Daughters of Charity said: "Lady Smith's findings describe events and practices which are totally out of keeping with the fundamental values which underpin our life and mission and we are committed to giving this report our utmost attention.

"We most sincerely offer our heartfelt apology to anyone who suffered any form of abuse whilst in our care."